Presidential Elections & The Expat Vote

Expat Voting

After dropping my absentee ballot into the post box in the photo above, I thought of how many times I’ve enjoyed the privilege of voting in a Presidential election. At 52, I’ve seen my choice for president win only three of the previous eight times. Each time felt important and no matter how close the race looked or how dispirited I might have felt about the possibility of change, I voted.

The envelope above holds my ninth opportunity to make my vote count. Three times out of nine have seen me voting from a distant shore. While serving in the US Army, I voted for the very first time in 1980 from a military post in Germany, and yesterday’s vote marks the second absentee ballot I’ve mailed from the village where I live in Cornwall, England.

It was a bit more trouble this year because I applied late for my absentee ballot and the closer it got to the deadline date, the more worried I became that it would not make it in time. When I searched the internet for an alternative way to vote, I discovered that I could print out a write-in ballot so my vote could make it to Georgia in time.

If you are living outside the US and would like to vote but don’t have time to get a ballot, go to this Federal Voting Assistance Program site and follow the directions as I did.

You must fill out a Declaration/Affirmation statement to show you are a legitimate voter living abroad and I found the classifications questions the most interesting with only two being a possible fit for me.

I am a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty or I am their spouse or dependent

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 am a U.S. citizen otherwise granted military/overseas voting rights under State law (check the Voting Assistance Guide).

While John and I were talking about the wording of the questions and the flexibility of the word intend in the two classifications that might apply to me, it struck me how well the word intend fits a politician’s life as it leaves a lot of wiggle room for shifting away from promises made during campaigning.

I believe my choice for President will do better than that based on what I’ve seen, but I don’t have that same confidence in the other guy. 

Intend: verb

1. plan, mean, aim, determine, scheme, propose, purpose, contemplate, envisage, foresee, be resolved or determined, have in mind or view.

6 thoughts on “Presidential Elections & The Expat Vote

  1. We were talking just the other day about how important the US election seems to be is to everyone we know and how some people follow the debates and campaigns just as closely as if it had been a Swedish election, where we are allowed to vote. Even up here in Lapland, I think everyone can name the American president, but certainly not everyone can say who is president of the European Commission. I hope your guy get´s another term.

  2. I am glad you and other ex-pats make the effort to vote. Thank you for that. One good thing about doing so from afar is that you have not been subjected to the unprecedented barrage of ads, phone calls and direct mail pieces of this campaign year. Obviously, the stakes are high.

  3. I’ve discovered here in Colorado, the majority of votes are cast by mail in ballots, which makes sense given the possible bad weather in November. So yesterday, I filled out and sent in my ballot, and it feels like a very important election.

  4. Thank you so much for making the effort to vote. It is so very important. Thank you, too, for the links, both of which are most informative. And I love your musing on the word *intend.* You’re right, that’s a politician’s word for sure!

  5. I’m not going to get into a political debate here since I have no desire in trying to sway your opinion. I would like to point out though that Mitt Romney was governor of one of the most democratic states in the union. While governor in MA, he had to do make decisions and vote based off of his constituents needs and not his own needs and/or beliefs. Did he change his mind on key issues throughout the course of his governorship? Yes. Doesn’t everyone have the right to change their beliefs as they go through life? And if you are of the mindset that he changed all his opinions for political gain, isn’t it a shame that in order to get the presidential nomination to whichever party, a candidate has to pander to (in his case) the far right to keep those masses happy? This gives the appearance of flip-flopping, but it’s what has to be done to keep his party “faithfuls” happy. I wish that candidates could talk freely about what they believe and what they would do as president if given the chance, instead of worrying about the special interest groups and their funding. Just my two cents.

  6. I became a citizen at the age of 30. (formerly Canadian) I went thru the whole thing, studying the constitution etc. My brother who was just 2 months old when we moved to the US also votes. He never took a test or became a citizen. He was in a shopping mall out in CA and they asked him if he was registered. He explained he was a Canadian and they said oh well, that’s good enough and proceeded to register him! I am outraged by this. But I can’t turn him in as he is my brother. Just think of everyone else they have illegally registered.

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