It’s a major election year in the US and for the first time I am not in the US during this important time. I’ve always been big on voting. I always vote for every seat, including judges, and every question. Let’s just say I never skimp on voting!
So of course I made sure to figure out my absentee voting procedures. It turns out that depending on which state you are registered, different procedures apply – so it’s important to get a hold of that information.
I started first with the Federal Voters Assistance Program – a government program run by the Secretary of Defense, which then referred me to the right site to get my NY voter registration sorted.
Initially I was worried it hadn’t gone through, but then after a few weeks I got e-mail confirmations that I was on my way to receiving my paper ballot. For me in NY, I would have to submit a paper ballot (some states have e-mail absentee voting), and that I would have to have it in NY by election day – November 6 (some states let you postmark it by election day).
I received my ballot, with three envelopes – the one it came in, the one it will go in, and a second one it will then be mailed in. I received an e-mail from my local ACS, which let those of us who did not yet have our ballots know what to do in that event and also advised that I could drop my paper ballot off at the US Consulate by October 29 noon to guarantee timely delivery.
I needed some time to think over my choices for Senate and Congress, in particular, and then on October 29, I strolled over to the consulate on Garden Road and promptly dropped off my ballot. It was all a rather congenial process and stress free. The guard knew right away I was coming to vote when he saw me with the envelope in hand, and directed me to the US Citizen Services entrance.
Upon handing off the envelope, all that was left for me was to sit tight as the last weeks of campaigning wrapped up. And here I am today, November 6, watching election coverage live, streaming from my computer.
Notably, this is a much watched international event, and there are locations around the city setting up election watch viewings, including the American Chamber of Commerce. I also note that the NBC election coverage came on this morning instead of the regular putonghua entertainment news program at 8am. It was a pleasant surprise, and I may have stayed back to watch if not for a conference call I had on for 9am.
Anyway – I’m watching the results come in live – during the middle of my morning, which is unusual, since I’m more accustomed to struggling to stay awake as the final votes are counted in the middle of the night!
It’s a pretty exciting race, and I am anxious for the results. Luckily I will not be bleary eyed as I lay in wait for the results to be announced this time!