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.