In a trendy restaurant on Bay Street, American expats, Canadians and members of the press gathered for a viewing party held by the Toronto chapter of Democrats Abroad.
As the first numbers rolled in, lively chatter filled the eatery. The energy quickly changed when Trump’s victory became evident. Amanda Ortiz, 25, was stunned by the results.
“I thought this whole thing was a joke from the beginning, I didn’t think that he was actually going to go through with it,” Ortiz said. “The fact that he won the election — I don’t even know what to say. I’m speechless.”
Aside from the many controversies that plagued his campaign, Ortiz and other expats worry about Trump’s unclear policies on double taxation. According to Tax-News.com, the U.S. is one of only two countries (the other being Eritrea) that impose taxes on its nonresident citizens. About 8.7 million American citizens live overseas. In addition to the taxes they pay in their current residencies, Americans like Ortiz who live and work abroad are required to pay American taxes.
“They are going to make it more difficult for us who are working here in Toronto,” Ortiz said. “Especially when it comes to running a business or if you’re somebody who is a self-proprietor or running a corporation.”
According to Ungar, this election garnered immense participation from Democrats worldwide. He says that Democrats Abroad reached 100,000 Americans through phone calls and over 2.5 million through social media campaigns on platforms such as Facebook.
“That’s a low estimate,” Ungar said. “We know we sent in more than six figures worth of votes into the United States.”
Nonresident Americans can vote in general, mid-term, special, primary and run-off elections by registering online. Their votes count in the last state they lived in. Around 45 days before election day they receive blank ballots (in printed or online form) which they must send back to their local elections officials or U.S. Embassy office. Each year, American citizens must renew their application to remain in the voter register.
Julie Buchanan, Toronto chair of Democrats Abroad, expected it to be a tight race but was stunned by Trump’s win by such a substantial margin.
“I never thought a black man would be president or that a woman would run for president,” Buchanan said. “I never thought somebody like Donald Trump would run for president either.