Dear Fellow Democrats,
We are writing you today with important information about voter registration and about how to make sure that your vote from abroad is counted in the November election. We do so because there has been a lot of misunderstanding arising from changes in voter ID laws and purges of voter registration rolls in some states, and because there is a great deal of misinformation circulating on the internet about absentee voting from abroad. It is easy to be confused by all this, and quite normal to have questions. So, in light of the fact that vote registration deadlines are looming (the first of which is September 22 for requesting aballot in North Dakota, and October 6 for registering to vote in Nevada and South Carolina), we want to provide you with some clear and concrete steps you can take to make sure that you are properly registered and haver equested your absentee ballot, which you can also pass on to family, friends, and members of DA.
The federal election law requires that you re-register every year in which there is an election, and that you request a ballot for every election--and yes, primaries and general elections in the same calendar year are different! If you voted in your home state's primary a few months ago, you will need to request another absentee ballot. Here are the steps to take.
1) VERIFY YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION. You can typically check your voter registration status at www.canivote.org, but the accuracy of the information provided there will depend upon your voting state'srecord-keeping. If you are sure that you have registered but this website says you have not, try calling your town or city clerk's office to verify your registration. Sometimes they can even tell you if they have received your request for an absentee ballot.
2) REQUEST YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT. If you have not yet registered to vote, or if you need to request your absentee ballot for the November general election, you can do so at www.votefromabroad.org. This is our simple, user-friendly website that allows you to complete the process in less than five minutes. Just fill in the form, print it, sign it, put in an envelope, and mail it to the address indicated on the printed form. A few weeks later, you will receive your absentee ballot. If you are unsure whether you have already done this, or if you have not done it since the primary election in your state, do it again ! In fact, you should do it right now. There is no harm in mailing a second request for an absentee ballot, as you will receive only one ballot. Better safe than sorry.
3) WAIT FOR YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT. Some states have already mailed theirs--many people have reported receiving them electronically, while some others are worried that they have not yet received theirs in the regularpost. But rest assured, there is no need to worry yet, especially if you have verified your registration and sent in your request. Many states will be mailing theirs in the last week of September, and they will take afew days to arrive. If you have not received your absentee ballot by OCTOBER 10, then you could contact your clerk's office--but above all, donot worry, because there is always a back-up plan! You can use www.votefromabroad.org to request an FWAB--an official write-in ballot that will be counted if your clerk receives no official ballot from you. We will send a follow-up email about how to use this form later.
4) VOTE! Complete your absentee ballot and mail before the clearly indicated deadline to the clearly indicated address. Be sure to sign it, and write your signature across the seal of the envelope. Some states require a "security envelope," the kind that once sealed have to be"unzipped"--these are available in most post offices. If you want peace of mind, you can post it as registered mail, so that you will get a receipt when it is delivered. And if you get your ballot via email, as many California voters do, note that you should complete the official sample ballot that is included in the email, as you will not receive a paper ballot. It seems odd, but that is indeed the correct procedure.
FINALLY, CELEBRATE on election night! Your vote from abroad will be counted, and together we will re-elect Barack Obama as President of theUnited States, retain the Senate, and win back the House.
If you have any QUESTIONS, do not hesitate to contact our voting registration experts at email@example.com
Friends, we cannot urge you strongly enough to take a few minutes to verifyyour registration and request your absentee ballot. Prudence pays. Everyvote from abroad counts, and we want to do everything we can to make sure that yours is among them.
Ken Sherman, DPCA International Chair
Vicki Hansen Thackray, DPCA International Vice Chair
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