As elections draw closer in Sudan, diaspora living in the U.S. are scrambling to obtain documents that would allow them to vote.

David Choat, an official of the South Sudan office in Washington, D.C., explains that Sudanese living abroad are required to register with the Embassy of Sudan to receive documents like the national identification cards and passports. 

But he says there was poor coordination between the Embassy of Sudan and the office of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS). As a result, many Sudanese nationals living in the United States have not registered and will not be able to take part in the elections. 

“During the registration process, many people didn’t have the documents required by the electoral body,” he says. 

“Last year, officials from Sudan’s interior ministry started a process to register all members of the Sudanese diaspora. They travelled to major US cities trying to reach out to [them], many of whom have lived there for over 10 years.”

Choat estimates the number of Sudanese in North America to be between two and three million, many from Southern Sudan. He says that by not fully involving the GOSS office in the registration process, many who are suspicious of the Sudanese government have failed to apply for documents.