I called a while back to my local board of elections to see about getting an absentee ballot. They said I had to request it in writing and they would mail the ballot to me. Then I'd have to mail it back to them. At that point, given how slow APO mail can be, I sort of gave up. I figured there wasn't enough time.
But then last night, I learned of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. According to that, you can fill out a form, fax it in, and they will fax back your ballot. You fill out the ballot, fax it back and mail the original. Great! I can vote!
Not so fast. I fax in the form and I get an email this afternoon saying I can't have my ballot by fax because I don't qualify as being temporarily overseas. Say what? So I emailed back and said I was here temporarily serving the country. Then, I called and got the director. He said he'd see what he could do. In the meantime, I get a snippy email back from the first person who emailed me back saying that the problem was I was a "regular" voter and so they would have to see if I could get special permission. AND that I should have requested a ballot earlier.
So I pull up the wording of the act and email it to them. I qualify under a citizen temporarily overseas based on the definition in the act, and as such, can request my ballot up to the day before the election. They are still "seeing" what they can do. They said they would go ahead and fax the ballot and I could fax it back like the act says. It wasn't there when I left this evening, but maybe it will be there in the morning.
What really annoys me is how I am having to convince them to abide by the law in allowing me to vote when I am here serving my country! I wonder how many of us overseas don't end up voting because they make it such a pain.
Jennifer Gillian Newstead to be @StateDept’s Legal Adviser
55 minutes ago