US citizens in Estonia suffer sleepless nights as election count continues

Estonian and U.S. flags.
Estonian and U.S. flags. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Tuesday's still-undecided United States presidential election caused more than one American citizen and long-term resident a sleepless night, with concerns about postal voting also being voiced by some, ETV news show "Aktualne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday night.

"I was up most of the night. I think I went to bed about 04.00 a.m.", 13-year resident Jene Walker told AK.

Texas native John Sullivan was the same: "I didn't [sleep], because I've been watching this election since early yesterday", he said, adding that he had not been happy with the result so far.

Others had found this year's election to be too much to stomach, however.

"I didn't even watch it on TV – in fact at this very moment I don't even know who is winning and who isn't," Rob Hudgins told AK's Vahur Lauri.

Part of Hudgins' concerns had been whether his overseas vote had even been counted, given the postal system installed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, whose rates and accompanying restrictions have hit many U.S. states hard.

"As of three days ago, [Hudgins' mail-in vote] hadn't been received, or they hadn't acknowledged it. The State of Virginia said they have so many back-up mail-in ballots they couldn't verify whether they had received it or not," Hudgins said.

Hudgins added that he had observed a tendency during his time living in Estonia to conflate the current incumbent with all U.S. citizens, once their interlocutor had picked up an American accent or otherwise found out where they were from.

"Halfway through the second Bush administration – George W. – every time people heard an American accent they would say 'what about George Bush?'. They'd already heard some bad things about George Bush and so that's the way they judged all of us. They've already started with Trump; that's the first topic Donald J. Trump. I don't go out any more."

The phenomenon had also been reflected back on to certain segments of the Estonian population too, Jene Walker, a black American, noted, particularly relating to immigration.

"If you look at those same people [opposed to immigration], they do support the president of the U.S. right now, and they're taking on his views and culture – how he governs. You can see that impact here," Walker said.

At pixel time the outcome of Tuesday's election was still undecided, though Joe Biden, on 243 electoral college votes, looks set to win over Donald Trump on 214. The latter is threatening legal action, however, citing mass voter fraud and wanting to halt the vote count while it is still ongoing. Three key states, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia have still to declare.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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