Washington:  Over 630 million American expats, who live in 160-plus nations, could play a crucial role in deciding whether Barack Obama remains in the White House or Mitt Romney replaces him in Tuesday's Presidential election.

Obama, Romney make final bid before poll
    
"632 million Americans (excluding military) live in 160-plus countries...If all these Americans were placed in one state, it would be the 17th most populous state in the US," according to the Association of Americans Resident Overseas.
    
There have been many changes to the way Americans abroad -- including civilians, military personnel and their dependents -- can vote in US elections, and organisers trying to rally them to participate say, this year, those votes could count for a lot, CBS News reported.
    
The Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) says US military and federal civilian employees, along with voting age dependents and spouses, amounts to roughly the same number of people as the Federal Voting Assistance Programme estimate for 2008, or about 2.5 million people.
    
According to analysts, this election may be determined in the Electoral College by a dozen battleground states, in which, recent polls show, Obama and Romney are virtually tied. Those swing states are: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
    
In 2008 Presidential election, Americans overseas were registered in the largest numbers in Texas, California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and Washington.
    
Crunching the numbers, the OVF estimates that about 500,000 votes will be cast from overseas in this election, including many in several of the battleground states, meaning those states have some extra voters that are not included in most polls.
    
The US Department of State has been trying to clear hurdles for US citizens to vote from overseas. Now all US citizens can receive their blank ballots electronically.
    
Pundits seem to take for granted that US military and their families vote overwhelmingly Republican and American non-military expats tend to vote Democratic. But several mobilisation campaigns for particular blocs may challenge that conventional wisdom, the report said.
    
Both Obama and Romney have, for all practical purposes, campaign ground operations in Israel, for example. According to estimates, 75,000 of the 300,000 Americans living in Israel will vote this year.
    
The Democratic and Republican parties have active committees throughout the world: Democrats Abroad has a country committees list that resembles the UN membership, from Afghanistan to Zambia, and Republicans Abroad boasts a comparable network.

(Agencies)

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