Americans in Hampstead and Highgate face nerve-racking wait for election outcome

With the American presidential elections less than a week away, Rachael Getzels talks to American expatriates living in Hamsptead and Highgate who are casting their votes from abroad

On Wednesday Americans living in Hampstead and Highgate will discover who will be their president for the next four years.

Although their votes will be travelling thousands of miles across the Atlantic, they are no less important and many expatriates have followed the election campaign closely, despite the time difference.

However, the experience abroad is very different from what they would face back in the States and some have even spoken of their relief at being far away from the political frenzy.

Erin Niumata, of Honeybourne Road, in West Hampstead, is a member of Hampstead Women’s Club, which is made up of international women living the area and has been including details of how to obtain absentee ballots for the American election in their weekly newsletter for the past month.

For Erin, this is her first presidential election in the UK.

The mother-of-two, who has been living in London for two and a half years, explained that being away from the constant barrage of campaign adverts and news reports during the elections has given her a fresh perspective.

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“One thing that I like about not being in the States is missing all the overwhelming campaign adverts and the media coverage,” the 46-year-old explained.

“It has always been overkill and I’m happy to miss it all.

“This way I can read sites and blogs and newspapers online and make my decision by reading the media without being overwhelmed at every turn.”

Michael Zagor has lived in England since 1971, but he said he has followed every election since then, despite his status as “domiciled”.

The resident, of Parliament Hill Fields, in Highgate, explained: “If you’re domiciled here you pay all your taxes in the UK and that seems fair enough to me.”

He added: “Whatever policies America follows, the whole world is affected, which is why the American election is an international election and is followed all over the world.”

For some expatriates living in the UK, their family ties back home fuels their involvement in the elections.

American citizen, Jaime Flamand, of Finchley Road, West Hampstead, said: “My sister doesn’t have health insurance with her job, so for me, Obamacare is important even though it doesn’t affect me personally.”

The mother-of-one, who has lived in the country for seven years, added: “We might move back there and I’d like it to be going in a good direction.”

Micala Fox, of Heath Street, Hampstead, is a member of Democrats Abroad and she also does PR for the Hampstead Women’s Club.

The 41-year-old, who has lived in England for 12 years, agrees that during the last two elections, Americans in the UK have voted more than ever.

She said: “People are really concerned about the future.

“It’s important if you’re an expat and you decide at some point to go back and people are worried about the economy and certain rights could be rolled back.”

Sarah Schoenbeck, a 25-year-old American living in Swain’s Lane, Highgate, will be staying up all night to see the results trickle in.

She says the policies will affect many people she knows and she wants to vote for ideological reasons.

“It would be a shame to step backwards,” the actress who has lived in both countries explained.

“If the world could vote for the president, we know who they’d vote for.”