Now that the conventions are over, the candidates have been nominated, and the United States presidential election is just months away, it’s important that all Americans — at home and abroad — cast their ballots.
Elections are important events, and if you don’t vote, you don’t have a say. I hate when people who don’t vote complain about politics. If you don’t participate, you don’t get to complain. And I want people to participate.
People don’t often vote while traveling or living abroad because they don’t know how, don’t have a fixed address, or think it’s a lot of work. During the last election in 2008, I didn’t know how to vote while overseas.
In the age of the Internet, it turns out that it’s quite easy to vote in an election while abroad. With just a few clicks, you can get the ball rolling, and there’s still time to get it done before the election this November.
Here’s how to vote in this US election:
Step 1 — Register to vote. If you’re already registered to vote, awesome! Head to Step 2. If not, it’s a free and simple process. You can register to vote in person, at the DMV, or by mail. Here’s a list of each state’s election office that gives you more information on where to go:
If you’re already overseas, you’ll have to print out the forms listed on your state’s election website and mail them to your election office.
Or, you can visit the Federal Voter Assistance Program, complete the voter registration form online, and mail it back to them with postage. It’s a much quicker and simpler process.
Here’s a good voting resource: General Voting Resource from the Federal Government
Step 2 — After you’re registered to vote, there are two ways to cast your ballot overseas:
(a) You can apply for an overseas ballot via your state’s election office by mailing in a form, having the ballot sent to you, and then mailing it back— a complicated process.
Or you can do it the easy way:
b) Go to the Federal Voter Assistance Program website and do it all online!
Step 3 — Go to FVAP and click on the state you’re registered to vote in to get state-specific information.
If you’re registering to vote via FVAP, you can mail in your registration and ballot at the same time. (You can also just print out the forms and hand-write your answers.)
Step 4 — Download and print the PDF forms.
Step 5 — Put your ballot in an envelope, slap some postage on it, and mail it in.
Step 5 — Celebrate the fact that you voted!
The last election required you to do a lot more mailing of forms. It was way more work. This election is far easier. You can complete everything online, print it out, and mail it in. It’s all legal, and it’s all valid. I love the Internet Age!
This is one of the most important elections in years, so make sure you get your ballot and vote.
Being overseas is no excuse when all you have to do is go online, fill in some forms, and mail them home for free. So go do it.