This is my third General Election. And the second time I am voting absentee. Apparently, I prefer to be out of the country during election years? Smart, right? Unfortunately, this go around, I ran into a few problems. I can’t say I’m sure whether those are the result of some Tennessee entity trying to keep me from voting (I’m joking; I don’t think that’s the case) or if it has more to do with the Moroccan mail system. Logic would say the problem is on the Moroccan side, since mail in the developing world isn’t always consistent. Although, in fairness, I can’t think of a single letter that was mailed to me from the States that took longer than four weeks to arrive in-country, and most did it in three. Mail from Madison County is now pushing six weeks and still nothing. I’m admittedly a little suspicious (not really). Frankly, I feel like if you request a ballot, there should be some kind of confirmation that it’s been sent. I had to email the Election Office to ask, so why is there no confirmation code, the kind of way there is if you mail a package via UPS or FedEx? I should be able to track my ballot or something. It seems that important to me.
Luckily, and in part thanks to Peace Corps, I found a loophole that allows me to vote without having to wait for the “official” ballot to arrive. It’s called a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, or more fun to say, a FWAB. The FWAB is available specifically to U.S. Military personnel, their spouses, or other Americans living outside the territorial U.S., and it’s to be used in cases where the official ballot may not arrive in time before that fateful Tuesday in November. You can get a hold of your own FWAB, should you need one, via the Federal Voting Assistance Program‘s website here.
I know what you might be thinking. “But, Philip, why go through all that trouble to vote in a state that will elect Mitt Romney with an 8-point lead to Obama. We all know you’re an Obama voter, and your vote won’t even count in a ‘red state’ like Tennessee.” My vote won’t count, you say?! Why, every vote counts! Except, of course, those thrown out by Republicans trying to hijack the election. …and uhm, considering that the Romney family actually owns the voting machines, that could throw a kink into things, I suppose. Okay, so I digress, perhaps every vote doesn’t count. Maybe even my vote will be drowned out in a sea of blood (fitting metaphor, right?).
But I don’t think it’s really even about whether the vote counts. What happens after I mail it isn’t really my part. I’m doing my part, and that’s what matters. I voted because it’s my duty and moral obligation. If I want to whine and complain (and I do), if I want to serve my country (and I do and have as a volunteer), then this is my way of speaking my voice, even if it’s spoken into some place where no one will ever hear it, including Tagg Romney’s machines of forgotten Obama votes. I mean, it ticks me off that the GOP is so hell-bent on making sure Obama loses that they would feel the need to stoop to rigging the election. But I just don’t think I can call myself patriotic or an American or even have the right to be angry with American politics if I don’t cast that ballot.
So, this is my plea to you, wherever you are: If you are American, please vote. Even if your vote is for Romney and will count three hundred times on Tagg-o-matic’s Romney-chine, do your duty. Vote.