In reaction to my position that US persons abroad suffer taxation without representation, some at the Expat forum make the claim that it is a commonplace today, such as Ladyhawk:
The issue of “no taxation without representation” comes up over and over again. While I sympathize and agree, this is nothing more than a historical sentiment, in reality. Every person who immigrates to the US and gets a job, or who works temporarily in the country, pays taxes and cannot vote unless and until they are citizens (except in a few jurisdictions). Felons in the US cannot vote, nor can anyone under 18 even if they pay taxes. The residents of DC have no representation in Congress. If this is unfair, Canada and many other countries are equally unfair, as they have similar laws.
Another person pointed out that US citizens abroad may vote by absentee in the last district that they lived in or, for those born out of country, where their parents last lived. But in response, it is necessary to make a distincition between franchise and representation.
The question isn’t whether you have a right to vote. That’s easy enough to extend. It is whether you have representation. Note that the colonists fought the War of Independence because they insisted on “No taxation without representation!” Now imagine that King George said, “But you can vote for your MP in the last riding which you or your ancestors lived in!” Then the colonists would have simply responded, “that gives us the vote but we still have no representation, because we are voting for an MP to represent Surrey, not southern Virginia” (or where ever it may be). By contrast, an immigrant resident in the United States is counted in the census, the same as children below the age of 18 (or a woman in the days before woman’s suffrage); they are in cateogries of people who have no franchise, but because they were counted, they have a representative who will go and fight for their local area in Washington where the decisions are made.
So whether the US persons abroad vote or not, they still have no representative; if they do vote in federal elections, they are only voting for someone else’s representative.
See Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States, section 2, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which says that Indians “not taxed” were to be excluded from census–therefore, if they are not taxed, they receive no representation, the penchant of the “No Taxation with Representation” is “No Representation without Taxation”. What US persons abroad have is Taxation without Representation.