Thanks to Democrats Abroad we quickly got our ballots emailed to us, filled them out and emailed them back. For those of you living abroad who haven’t voted yet. Here is the first step as explained by Democrats Abroad.
Step 1: Request your ballot
Head to www.votefromabroad.org, your one-stop-shop for registering to vote and requesting your overseas absentee ballot. There, you’ll complete and submit your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the form overseas voters like you use to request ballots. The website will help you fill out the FPCA and tell you exactly where to send it. In most cases, you can submit it right then and there electronically!
Ballots from New Jersey were emailed to us from our County Clerk’s Office. One thing I should tell you is that these ballots are not secret. We had to sign a document saying that we understood that since the completed ballots would be emailed back they were open to others to read. Hey, I will tell you who I voted for. I don’t care if you read my ballot.
Printing, completing the ballot and accompanying paperwork, scanning and emailing the PDFs back to New Jersey is incredibly simple. What is not, is the arcane rule that we must also mail the printed, signed and scanned documents to our County Board of Elections. The directions say send them via Airmail. When I asked about Airmail at the Ufficio Postal, the agent looked at me. That hasn’t been an option for years. All mail goes in a plane – just not a special plane. Mail from Italy to the USA must go by a one engine barely moving plane or not at all. In 2021, I had a hissy fit. The New Jersey website, NJ.gov, has a portal called Track my Ballot. Tracking my ballot – which was mailed back from Pontelandolfo after it was sent in an email – I saw that it was received in ample time, but on Election Day and the weeks after it was not marked “accepted.” I called my State Senator, politicos, the Board of Election and generally made a whining pain of myself. Why, if I print, fill out, sign, scan and send the ballot back electronically do I have to mail the hard copy from Italy????? It is the law. It is stupid. Don’t go all – what about voter fraud – on me. An IPO address is easy to track. My signature scrawl is on file. Ask me a trick question or something that I can email back. How about voice recognition??
Sigh, I just looked. It has been a year and my ballot from 2021 was indeed accepted. I am not sure when. I stopped tracking it after two months. Not wanting to have my Father roaring down at me from his political backroom in the sky, today I went to Mail Boxes ETC in Telese Terme, spent €30 and FedEx is carrying our ballots across the sea. I can track them and was told it should take a couple of days. (I know we should have done that sooner, but we left on vacation a few days after I got the ballots. I screwed up.)
Don’t Worry poppo – the ballots will get there!
Voting isn’t something I do because my family has been so involved politically. It is something I do because it is my one opportunity to help insure that our democracy keeps on chugging forward. It is a gift and I relish it. Please vote. My brain is giggling that old cynical phrase attributed to Chicagoan, William Hale Thompson “vote early and vote often.” Don’t do that. Just go and vote.