We voted today. Sure, there’s a month to go before election day in the US and yes, we live 4300 miles (7000 km) from Florida where we’re registered, but thanks to the Internet it was just a matter of printing out an email and mailing it off. Perhaps not quite that simple, delayed a bit by the main post office in Carcassonne being closed until December 1 for renovation, but for other Americans living overseas, it’s definitely possible to participate.
On this blog we generally avoid politics but perhaps not the process. When we became Florida residents shortly before moving to France, one of the first things we did was to get driver’s licenses in our new state. Bill wisely registered to vote at the same time, but I said “no” thinking that it would no longer be important to vote in US elections. Our visit today to the post office proves differently.
The US government hosts a website called the Federal Voter Assistance Program https://www.fvap.gov/ for Service members, their families, and other citizens living overseas. As the name suggests, the site helps any US citizen living outside of the country to vote in national or even their own local elections. There’s also help for those of us not yet registered in their state of residence. You can either go through that site, or as I chose, skip one step and contact your state’s office of voter registration directly. I was able to quickly get registered by mail and then have various ballots emailed to me one of which we printed, signed, and mailed off today.
While Bill and I might not discuss much about US politics, our neighbors, new friends, and random people we meet who discover where we’re originally from want to talk all about it. Even the owner of one of the stores where we shop regularly asked us if we’d been listening to the presidential debates. He had very sound, thought out questions about one of the candidates in particular that we were simply unable to answer. We may be 7000 kilometers from Florida’s shores but the power of the vote is far reaching.