As you go through this election day, I thought you might be interested in how expats cast their ballots.  Before we even left the US, this had been on my mind.  I did some searching and found that all I supposedly had to do was register with our local Florida election office and request an absentee ballot.  I filled out the online form and sent it off into cyberspace, only half believing that we’d actually recieve a ballot in India.

Lo and Behold, about a month and a half ago, we recieved our ballots.  It is amazing, actually, as just about everything else that has ever been sent to us has been lost forever, never to reach its intended destination.  However, the ballots came through unscathed, and were delivered to our door in pristine condition.

An absentee ballot looks like a regular written ballot.  Connect the line to make your choice.  After filling it out, you just pop it into the inner privacy envelope, and then place that envelope into a bigger mailing envelope that you must sign.  This is to keep the whole thing a secret.  They check your signature on the larger envelope, and then, hopefully, discard the large one and mix the inner, unsigned envelope in with all the others for opening and counting.  (I’m not sure about this, but that is what I am guessing).

Now, I was quite concerned about the envelopes actually making it back to the US.  Getting here was a miracle in and of itself, I could hardly expect them to get back there on time.  It would be like lightening striking the same person twice.

Lucky for us, our friend Tim visited on business.  He graciously agreed to take the envelopes back to the US for us and mail them from Texas, assuring that they would actually get there.  Of course, we didn’t mention who we voted for, lest Tim disagreed with our decision and dumped them in the nearest trash can when we got to the airport.  (Just kidding, Tim, we know you wouldn’t do that!).

Now, for those expats who didn’t get their ballots for some reason, there was another chance.  Voting stations were set up here several weeks ago where they could pick up ballots and place their votes.  I am not sure how that all worked as far as verification and whatnot, but apparently they know what they are doing.

There are active organizations in most countries for “Democrats Abroad” and “Republicans Abroad”, who were doing the best to get the word out about their candidates and assure that all expats vote, so we aren’t cut off from what’s going on back home like some might imagine.

Tomorrow morning, some voters will be getting together to have a brunch and watch the election returns come in.  I figure that it will all be decided by about 9am our time.  Hopefully the news will be good.

Whatever your political leanings, make sure you vote today.  If we can do it all the way from India, you’ve got no excuse.  🙂

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