Volunteers from the Lake Chapala Chapter of Democrats Abroad are available every Tuesday from 10 a.m.-noon under the umbrella at the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic to help fill out your application to register and request your ballot for U.S. elections. The help is nonpartisan.
Volunteers will also be helping people requesting absentee ballots on Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-noon at Salvador’s Restaurant, in Ajijic’s Plaza Bugambilias.
By far the biggest response our volunteers hear when they ask people if they have registered to vote is “I am already registered.” However, if you live in Mexico, and vote from abroad, not absentee, then states require that you submit a new application each year.
That brings us to Miranda’s story. Miranda told our volunteers, “I’m registered in Miami Dade County and I always get my ballot.”
The volunteers suggested to Miranda that, due to the recent pressure on states to clean up the voter rolls, she should call the voter registrar’s office in Miami Dade and check to see what they showed as her voting status. Being a person who does it the right way, she did just that.
Guess what? The registrar said, “Yes, you are registered.” All good, yes? Well, shortly after that phone call, Miranda received an email from her elections office. The email said it all: overseas voters must register every year!
Miranda was lucky, Her registrar was kind enough to respond to her so she could be registered and receive her ballot but not all registrars might be so helpful.
Here’s part of the email Miranda received from her elections office:
“Dear Elector, while reviewing your registration records, we found no recent Federal Post Card Application. Attached for your convenience is a blank Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to bring your voter registration records up-to-date and to request vote-by-mail ballots. It is recommended that Overseas citizens submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to the state of their last voting residence or last residence where they lived each year and again each time there is a change that might affect their registration status. The FPCA acts as both a registration and vote-by-mail ballot request form.”
So the lesson is to make sure you are a registered voter. Go online to fill out your Federal Post Card Application at Votefromabroad.org or FVAP.gov. Another easy way is to visit the volunteer table at Lake Chapala Society on Tuesdays or Salvador’s Restaurant on Wednesdays for help.
Lake Chapala Chapter of Democrats Abroad