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Jon Stewart's 'Rally to Restore Sanity' energizes expats from Paris to Prague

Jon Stewart's 'Rally to Restore Sanity' may have compelled some Americans living abroad to cast votes in a mid-term election they may have otherwise ignored.

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Brown says the popularity of Stewart, coupled with the vocal protests of the tea party movement, may well have inspired expatriates to cast ballots in this election cycle. She spent $97 on postage fees to mail her absentee ballot from Paris earlier this week.

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Meanwhile, in the northeastern Mexican city of Monterrey, Guillermo Zenizo Lindsey signed an Internet petition supporting Stewart's rally, although he's not a regular watcher of "The Daily Show."

"We need a rational discussion" about things such as health care and immigration reform, he says.

In Montreal, Marc Seltzer says he expects "50 or more supporters, curious, comedy-loving rally watchers and participants" at a mini-rally he's organizing Saturday. Mr. Seltzer, the local chair of Democrats Abroad, says he was interviewed on CBC radio today about the event, which he thinks will mostly draw expatriates like himself.

"The confluence of excitement about it may very well get people to vote," he says in a telephone interview.

Stewart is appealing for a "sane" conversation about the state of US politics and policy. But the idea of an entertaining afternoon is also expected to draw people to attend the Washington rally or watch it live on Comedy Central and CNN. It will include musicians The Roots, Jeff Tweedy, and Cheryl Crow and celebrities Don Novello and Sam Waterston.

If Stewart's rally is just "another political performance catalyzed by celebrity icons," however, it is unlikely it can change the super-charged nature of American political debate, says Harvard's McCarthy.

"Perhaps it will have an energizing affect," he says. "A spike in international or expatriate participation, I think, is a great thing. But I’m not super optimistic that will happen."

(Editor's note: Jon Stewart is not the creator of "The Daily Show," as this article originally stated. He became host in 1999, three years after it launched.)