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Fax, mail or DHL? Overseas U.S. voters fret ahead of November 3 election

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Fax, mail or DHL? Overseas U.S. voters fret ahead of November 3 election

By Luke Baker, Matthew Tostevin and Cassandra Garrison

 

2020-09-23T131219Z_1_LYNXNPEG8M1AD_RTROPTP_4_USA-ELECTION-OVERSEAS-VOTERS.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Democratic party volunteers lay out badges at an event in Rome aimed at encouraging U.S. citizens living abroad to vote in the forthcoming presidential election. Picture taken Sept. 15, 2020. REUTERS/Crispian Balmer/File Photo

 

LONDON/BANGKOK/BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - By fax, courier or mail, U.S. voters abroad are going to new lengths to ensure their ballots are counted, with the bitterest election in memory taking place amid a global pandemic, postal disruptions and the incumbent railing against mail-in votes.

 

Activists from both major parties say they are seeing unprecedented demand for help registering and voting this year from the estimated 9 million Americans who live abroad.

 

"We have got considerably more voters reaching out to us. We have certainly had more than 4 to 5 times the contacts that we had in 2016," said John Foote, a voting assistant with Republicans Overseas in Thailand.

 

After a race in 2016 decided by tiny margins in a handful of swing states, Inge Kjemtrup, chair of Democrats Abroad UK, said: "This time no one is complacent."

 

"I've got people who've lived here for four decades and haven't voted before and are getting in touch to say they want to vote this time."

 

President Donald Trump has long railed against mail-in ballots, saying they contribute to voter fraud, despite no evidence. Overseas voters, civilian and military, have voted by post in U.S. elections for generations.

 

U.S. law guarantees Americans living abroad the right to vote in federal elections, with votes counted in the state where they or their parents last lived.

 

States have strict deadlines to register, get a ballot and send it back, though a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot can be used by voters who don't receive theirs in time. Both parties have overseas arms that can help with the paperwork.

 

Voters worried about slow postal systems can drop ballots at U.S. embassies, which the State Department recommends doing by Oct. 1.

 

DHL DELIVERY

 

But Katherine Theobalds, a shoe designer living in Buenos Aires, was taking no chances getting her ballot back to New York. She forked out for DHL delivery.

 

"Most people I know are at the stage where they are concerned about getting their ballot to begin with, let alone sending it back on time."

 

Melanie Lansing, 57, a health insurance agent in San Miguel de Allende, a popular town for U.S. retirees in Mexico, asked someone heading to the United States to send her ballot to Oregon for her: "I wanted to put it in the hands of a friend."

 

In past elections, the overseas military vote has leaned Republican, but expatriate civilians in many countries lean towards Democrats. In Paris, Republicans sense the Democrats upping their game after approaching the 2016 election with perhaps too much confidence Hillary Clinton would win.

 

"They are hyper-active in the sense of getting people out. It wasn't like that in 2016... They didn't feel there was a threat from Trump," said Randy Yaloz, head of Republicans Overseas France.

 

Kjemtrup of Democrats Abroad UK said there was increasing understanding that the overseas vote is big enough to have an impact.

 

"In the 2018 mid-terms, one of every 25 races across the nation was won or lost by 1% of the vote or less. That's the margins that Americans abroad bring to every congressional district," she said.

 

One country where Trump is popular is Israel, home to 250,000-300,000 Israeli Americans, whose votes could affect the outcome in at least one big swing state.

 

"We have, by my estimation, between 25,000 and 30,000 eligible Florida voters here, and that could be the deciding factor in that state's election," said Marc Zell, head of Republicans Overseas Israel.

 

COVID-19 has made it harder to run traditional in-person events that parties have relied on to help expatriates with their paperwork, said Danielle Miklos, who chairs the Rome chapter of Democrats Abroad. "COVID has put a stop to everything. People don't want to come out."

 

Karen Birdsall, an international development consultant living in Berlin, is registered to vote in Pennsylvania, a big swing state that sent its ballots out on Sept. 19.

 

"That means that the time to receive it, to fill it, to mail it back and have it received in time before Nov. 3 is quite short," she said.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-09-24
 
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I didn't fret. I faxed. More media inspired hysteria.

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Still waiting on my ballot to arrive. Ridiculous it can not be done online, printed and mailed via the embassy.  Must be special paper needed. 

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In Thailand, see the US Embassy website for voting information.  Completed ballots can even be returned through the Embassy at minimal expense.

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An american friend of mine voted by email. He said it was quick, easy and secure. Worth your while to investigate how to do so and vote that way. Trump (the pathological liar) won't be able to call that method as fraudulent.

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2 hours ago, Benmart said:

I didn't fret. I faxed. More media inspired hysteria.

You are discounting that some states, mine included require Absentee Ballots to be mailed.

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Why vote? The election will be decided by now 6 right-wing activists posing as Jurists in black robes.

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17 minutes ago, wwest5829 said:

For those not aware. In the USA, voting is handled by the state government. Some states allow email, FAX, online voting. Other states, my own included require Absentee Ballots to be mailed. Dealing with the reality that mail services between ThaiPost and the USPS have been severely interrupted by the lack of air flights between the two countries (Covid relatered) leaves us two choices. We can drop off our Absentee Ballots to the Embassy in Bangkok or the Consulate in Chiang Mai. Those Absentee Ballots will be sent , with some delay, in the Diplomatic mail to the US. Once in the US, the mail will be delivered through the USPS. In this critical election for the heart and soul of my country, I chose to send my Absentee Ballot by DHL, at a cost of $41.00 to assure delivery. That ballot has been confirmed as having been delivered to my County Court Clerk’s Office in Kentucky.

    My state also requires the ballot be mailed.  If one is not near an embassy, the ballot envelope can be put in a larger envelope and mailed by Thailand Post to:

 

U.S. Embassy Bangkok
American Citizen Services
Attn: Voting Assistance Officer
95 Wireless Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10330

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6 hours ago, Benmart said:

I didn't fret. I faxed. More media inspired hysteria.

How do you fax , I live California, Fax to sho , Thx 

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34 minutes ago, Ireland32 said:

How do you fax , I live California, Fax to sho , Thx 

 

To your local board of elections. Google the county where you are regsitered to vote and the word "elections"

 

But note that not all States accept faxed ballots.

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