Monday, October 20, 2008

And the next President of the United States is...

Today, I had the opportunity to exercise my rights as an American citizen. Yep, today I voted for the next president of the United States. Now, I know some people were wondering if I would be able to vote, since I am not in the USA right now. Let me explain the process...

In the summer, while I was in Ohio, I filed for an absentee ballot. I had to put my address in Ohio and my address in Venezuela where I wanted to have my ballot sent. The application was processed and an official absentee voting ballot was sent out to me in the beginning of October. I called the Board of Elections to verify this and was told it should arrive in 2 weeks.

However, this is Venezuela- with an almost non-existant postal system. I never got the ballot. I received an email from the US Embassy saying that it was time to mail in my ballot if I had not done so already. But I didn't have it... so now what?

I called the Board of Elections again and the nice lady in the office there was sure it would arrive any day now and that I should get it in time to mail it in. She obviously doesn't understand how things work here. She did say that if it didn't come in time, I could print off an emergency write-in ballot and mail that in, which is what I did.

The best option for mailing it in was to send it through the American Embassy and Consulate office here in Venezuela. Of course, the Embassy is in Caracas and the Consulate office in Maracaibo is only open on Monday mornings from 8:30am- 12:00pm. So, last night, I completed my ballot and declaration form- verifying that it is me voting, and printed it out... well, not exactly. My printer would not print.

This morning I went to try to find security envelopes (which do not exist here), print my ballot at a printing shop, and go to the consulate office to send in my ballot. I spoke with the American Consulate and he wasn't sure if I needed to have my ballot notorized. He had to call Caracas and find out. Ohio does not require it. So, into the double envelopes, sealed, and affixed with 1 USA first-class stamp, my ballot is being sent to Ohio. :-)

Now, all I can do is pray that God will allow the right person to win the election. After all, it's in His hands anyway!

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