Saturday, March 29, 2014

OAW, Over and Out

Today was the last day of OAW. We only had one meeting left and it was one of the very best. We went to Alexandria, to a sort of annex of the Pentagon, to the FVAP, the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
Remember a few things:
  1. If you are an overseas voter, living overseas, use the procedures set up for overseas voters. That means do not phone your old board of elections and ask for a absentee ballot. There's the government site, FVAP, and there are private organizations, like OVF (Overseas Vote Foundation) that will help you vote as overseas voters. 
  2. You have to send in your ballot/registration request EVERY year. The recommendation is to do it at the beginning of the year and get it out of the way and to do it even if there is no federal election scheduled. You never know when there might be a special election for an official who resigns or dies.
  3. If you do not receive the ballot in time, use the Federal Absentee Write-in Ballot (FWAB) that you can find on the site. You must have registered before sending in the ballot. If you send in the ballot, thinking that it will serve as both registration and voting, it won't; it'll just be used as registration. And please, don't keep waiting for the official ballot until it's too late. If you have sent in the FWAB and your official ballot finally arrives, send that one in, too, and the board of elections has procedures to handle it.
  4. If you've never voted, if you never lived in the US, they will guide you through the process of finding the right address to use, so don't use that as an excuse for not voting.
  5. If your preferred party sets up an "overseas primary" election and you register for that, that is NOT a registration to vote in the election! 

You can set up alerts, so that you will be informed of upcoming deadlines for registration or voting in your state: http://www.fvap.gov/vao/alerts. First, you create your account with your email address and a password. Then, you set up your subscriptions. If you want to get the updates for your state, scroll down the list to "Absentee Voter Resources by State" and check off your state. Don't forget to click "Submit".
I'm not going to review yesterday's meetings, now. I'll leave that for another post. This is an election year, so it's important to have this one message only.

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