The Overseas Ballot (Part One)

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.

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5 Responses to The Overseas Ballot (Part One)

  1. Carlisle says:

    You intend to return! Wouldn’t want people to vote who had nothing at stake!

  2. Marcellina says:

    Yes but why ask for this information? I believe it used to be framed as “residing out of the country indefinitely”, which left it open. And your comment raises the question — if people can still legally vote even if not intending to return, why is this question asked this way? The way I understand it, I can use my last US address (even if I no longer live there) to determine my polling place. The options given are too vague to determine who still has a US residence (they could just as for that, then, anyway).

  3. ellroon says:

    Thanks for voting no matter what you are doing in one of them suspicious ferrin countries that ain’t America.

  4. Astrid says:

    of course, for some folks the answer to the question of whether they plan to return might differ, depending on who wins the election… 😉 Just sayin’.

  5. Marcellina says:

    Well, there’s that too!

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