Voting in the midterms, from abroad
Back in 2016 I arranged for Oregon to mail me absentee ballots overseas and bless their hearts, they haven’t stopped. They send me ballots for everything! I don’t have to request them every time! This has not always been the case (see 2012, when I didn’t vote because the deadline to register as an overseas absentee voter for that specific election was months beforehand and by the time I got around to it in, like, August, it was already too late).
In 2016, I went to the website for the Federal Voting Assistance Program and sent Oregon all the paperwork and scans necessary to be approved to receive a ballot at my address in Finland. It wasn’t easy, exactly, but it was straightforward and I ultimately succeeded in voting in that election, which is the important thing.
So when the ballot for the midterms showed up in my mailbox in October, the only thing left to do was, you know, vote! I am not exactly immersed in Oregon political culture right now, so I did some brushing up on the candidates and issues using The League of Women Voters of Oregon’s website. They have a handy tool that takes you through the ballot step-by-step and lets candidates explain themselves in their own words.
And then - this is the best part - I got to scan and email it in! No mailing necessary! There was an additional form to fill out in order to do so, but I got to vote on November 6th itself, just like everyone else. No mailing the ballot in weeks beforehand. The ballot itself was such an odd size that I couldn’t get the scanner to fit it all, so I ended up taking photos of it with my mobile phone and emailing those in. I was worried they’d write back saying it needed to be officially scanned, but instead, I got a nice message saying my ballot had been received and recorded!
So many exclamation points! Voting is the best! Voting from abroad is possible, and, once you get the initial paperwork done, easy! The end.