Letters To The Editor - 17 February, 2018

Dear Sir,

I hope my fellow Americans living in Mexico realize that  U.S. citizens who won’t be in the United States on November 6 are entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the UOCAVA Act.

And thanks to the Move Act, local election officials are required to send you a ballot by email or fax. They must do so by September 22—45 days before the election.

The easiest way to request absentee ballots for all the elections you’re eligible to vote in (including primaries) is to go to votefromabroad.org and request your ballot. (You’ll fill out an FPCA “postcard” online, print it, etc.) It doesn’t matter if you’re already registered, not registered or not sure. The beauty of the “postcard” is that, once received, not only does it request an absentee ballot, it also registers you (if for some reason you were not registered, or were “taken off the rolls” unbeknownst to you). If by chance you were already registered, don’t worry that you might receive too many ballots. Your election official is responsible for making sure each voter only votes once.

Even if you know your official and think she’s going to send a ballot, you should still request an absentee ballot every year using the postcard — otherwise, if the election is contested, your ballot could be thrown out.

On the web site, you need the address where you last lived or voted in the USA,  sometimes the last four digits of your Social Security number or a driver’s license number, plus an e-mail address and your foreign address where you live and sleep. After you fill out your postcard online, you download it, print it and sign it. Then, for most states, you scan the signed postcard, attach and e-mail it to your election official. In some situations, you must snail-mail or fax it back. For these details, check your county in a free, online book called eVAG.pdf.

Another beautiful thing about the votefromabroad.org site is that your election official is required to notify you if by some chance you didn’t fill it out properly.

All Americans living abroad have a say as to how our country is being run. So, request a ballot now and be sure your voice is heard in the primaries and November. 

There are sessions, both in Guadalajara and Lakeside, to help you fill out the forms if you have trouble online. Watch for announcements.

Tim Whiting