The good news is that one doesn’t have to produce a photo ID in order to vote by overseas ballot.*
The bad news is, it’s hasn’t gotten any easier to get one. I’m pretty good at navigating around the internet, and yet I spent the better part of the morning trying to find the right e-mail and post addresses to which to send my scanned copy of the Federal Post Card Application for an overseas ballot.
The application itself has some oddities. First off, you have to check the option that best describes your situation. I hovered for a while between two of them:
“I am a U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S., and I intend to return”
“I am a U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S., and I do not intend to return”
I wish I knew what they were really looking for there, specifically.
After being led to the websites of the PA State Dept., the Federal Voting Assistance Program, and VotesPA, I finally just googled “Chester County Pennsylvania board of elections” and voilà, there was both my mailing address and the e-mail address of the director of voter services, the one I used in past presidential elections.
I still don’t understand why I was unable to find a link to the correct address on any of the other sites.
*I would have gone on to suggest that those who find themselves wishing to vote, but without the required photo ID, just get an absentee ballot. However, it takes time and energy to jump through these hoops too, and there is always the nagging question since 2000 as to whether absentee ballots are counted at all. This year we know someone working at our local polling station, who should be able to tell us whether my ballot was received and counted.