Saturday, October 2, 2021

I Voted Absentee! Did You?

I just sent in my absentee ballot! Just because we live overseas doesn't mean we lack a home. And voting is one way we can advocate for things that matter to us back home: what policies are getting tabled or implemented, how our taxes are being spent, the way local schools are being run, and more. I love exercising my democratic right to vote, one that many around the world wish they had and advocate for every day.

A lot of folks don't vote unless there's a presidential election happening, and plenty of people don't vote at all. But I love voting every year! Votes make a difference, especially in smaller, local elections where fewer people turn out to the polls. As a Foreign Service Officer, I am bound by the Hatch Act - which limits some of my political expression. So although you won't see me out here campaigning for specific parties or candidates, I will make it a point to make my voice heard by voting and by encouraging other people to vote.

I personally find absentee voting so much more convenient than voting in person. That way, I can vote on my own time and don't have to worry about traffic or lines or party reps right outside the polling station trying to hand me pre-filled sample ballots. In my home state of Virginia, they allow people to vote absentee as long as you request the mail-in ballot in advance.

I also know from personal experience that they have safeguards in place to prevent voter fraud. One time, I went to a polling station in person because I never received a ballot. They confirmed at the polling station that I was sent an absentee ballot but it must have gotten lost in the mail. I had to fill out a provisional ballot in person that would be voided if my mail-in ballot were ever found completed and included in the tally. From what I saw, they take election security seriously!

Are you registered to vote? If not, go to now and sign up to vote in this year's elections! You can also see if your state allows absentee voting by mail on Ballotpedia, which also lists whether an excuse for absentee voting is required. Regardless of your political leanings or party membership, I hope you take the time to register and vote! The future of our country is up to us.

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