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Our midterm elections are coming up here in the United States on November 6th, and it is so important for everyone to vote even if you are living or traveling abroad.
We were living in Thailand during the 2016 presidential election and you better believe I figured out how to make sure we could cast our votes for president. At the time I used a third party website, Avaaz to help makes sure both Rob and I were registered and submitted all the paperwork as well as our ballots. They currently aren’t offering those services for the midterms this November, but they are still a good resource in general.
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Here is how to vote while abroad:
- Register to vote/make sure you are registered – The last day to register will be different depending on your state so check what the last day to register is at Vote.org.
- Request an absentee ballot – Get your absentee ballot digitally by going to VotefromAbroad.org and filling out the form.
- Decide how you’ll get your ballot – the email option is generally the easiest for travelers.
- Research candidates and propositions, and fill out your ballot.
- Mail, fax, or email – Depending on your state you’ll either have to print and mail your ballot in, fax it, or in some cases you can even email. In my home state of California we can fax (how 1999…), so I used a digital faxing service so I never had to print anything.
So while voting from out of the country is a little bit more work I still think is well worth it as well as your civic duty, especially if you plan on coming back to the US at any point (which many of us travelers do). Also I am a big believer in that you don’t get to complain about the state things are in if you aren’t participating – US policies can still affect you even if you aren’t currently in the United States.
Voting is an important part of our democratic process and just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean you’re exempt. So go out and learn what the issues are and research the candidates for your city and state and make an informed decision. Ok end rant 🙂
How politics can effect travel
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Other Resources on getting registered and submitting your ballot:
Resources on candidates and issues:
* this article is informative but it’s sections on “should you pay attention” with the answer “no” for most candidates seems kind of ridiculous. If these are your states and these are the people running to represent you, you should absolutely be paying attention.
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