Ballot oh Ballot where are you?

I applied for my absentee ballot in person at the York County Elections offices in the basement of the old courthouse the week before I left for Egypt.

The office was deserted except for me, and when I got there I was prepared to do battle to get exactly what I wanted from them: an absentee ballot sent in the very first batch of ballots prepared to ensure it got to me on time.

During the run-up to the primary election in the spring I had my mother (who happens to be one of the official election people at our local precinct) call the voting office no less than three times to see when my ballot would be mailed to me in DC because I was testing the system to see if they would send them out in time for me to receive it in Cairo. They failed that test (apparently because of court cases that held up the official ballot) but when I spoke to them in August they guaranteed that the ballots for the general election would be mailed out no later than mid-September.

I had to tape a post-it note to my official absentee ballot request because the blank for the address wasn't long enough (causing endless amusement) and explain more than five times exactly what I was planning on doing in Egypt. I also made them promise that they would notify my parents when the ballot was sent out so I could know when to expect it. They were surprisingly accommodating, actually.

The Elections office notified my parents that my ballot had been mailed on September 15, the same day the woman at International Student services informed me that the mail office "hadn't been built yet" and that the entire campus had not received any mail at the new address despite having officially moved more than two weeks before.

Two weeks after I made my inquiry about mail the International Student's Mail Desk was set up, right inside the entrance to campus. There were ten letters for over 400 international students, none of which happened to be election material or the card that my Nana sent me during the first week of September to test the mail services. I'm not sure who to blame for my ballot not getting here yet--the general Egyptian mail services aren't known for being too on top of things, but AUC certainly complicated the situation by not having the facilities to receive mail for more than a month, so at this point I'm splitting the blame.

I check every day that I get on campus early enough for the mail desk to be open--and so far, no ballot has shown up (and neither has my Nana's card).

Since I am voting from overseas my ballot technically does not have to be in until November 12, in which case it will only be counted if a Florida 2000 style recount would need to take place. I am not satisfied--I want my vote to be tallied on November 4th, because I want it to actually count towards the vote totals in my heavily Republican precinct and county--though it does look like Obama will take Pennsylvania with a comfortable margin (plus 11 in the latest poll data from fivethirtyeight.com).

If I haven't received my official ballot two weeks before November 4, which is looking increasingly likely, I do have the option to download and print a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, which I will then have to FedEx from Cairo to the United States to make sure it arrives on time (preferably by October 31, the deadline for normal, domestic absentee ballots). I think that this is the way to go to ensure that my vote is counted--which is why I spent two hours trying to load the Overseas Voting Foundation's website this afternoon instead of doing my homework.

So, Mom, if you happen to open a really weird absentee ballot on election night, you'll know its mine. Make sure its counted!

1 comment:

Tommy said...

dear katelyn,
remember what happened
the last time
you said
you wanted your vote to count