Rock the (Absentee) Vote


(image source: Theresa Thompson)

Forgive the cheesy headline. I’m a child of the 80’s/90’s and MTV is in my DNA.

When I was working on cruise ships in 2008 I knew there was no way I was going to miss voting in the pivotal U.S. elections. It was just too important, and so I set out to get things in order to absentee vote. You see, my ship was in Hawaii, but I was still a resident of Missouri, so I had to make sure I got my ballot mailed in on time.

Here we are again with the 2016 presidential election coming upon us and Election Day (November 8th, 2016) will be here before you know it. This is an indisputably polarizing election and therefore a pivotal election and I urge you to vote even if you’re overseas and traveling.

Many states require that you register to vote up to 30 days in advance, making the deadline Sunday, October 9th, 2016, so be sure to hurry if you haven’t registered. Even if you miss the 30 day cut off be sure to double check your state’s individual policies since some allow registration up to the day before and a few allow even the day of voting.

For voting purposes, your state of legal residence is generally the state wherein you resided immediately before leaving the United States, even if you no longer own or rent property or intend to return there in the future. (source)

After that, be sure to check your state’s rules on absentee ballot deadlines.

Give yourself plenty of time or pay to expedite your mail. International mail can take MUCH longer than what you’re used to if you’re accustomed to a typical 5-7 day delivery. I once mailed a package home from Italy a couple weeks before I flew home and I still arrived home before it did.

A lot of service members and overseas travelers feel their ballots don’t count, but I assure you they do! Luckily, most states offer ways to check your ballot’s status online. You can check the website for your state to get more information.

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try my best to help you out. Do any of you have any experiences voting overseas? What about some mailing/shipping shenanigans?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *