Confessions of a Vote-a-holic
Get Out The Vote

by Barbara Erickson, Get Out The Vote Chair San Miguel

The first time I voted, in 1970. It was the middle of the Vietnam War. My vote went to help the Democrats gain seats in both the House and Senate. It felt important to me, and more powerful than protesting in the streets. In 1972 I voted for McGovern who was trounced by Richard Nixon. I felt the war would never end. Since all was lost anyway, I dropped out of college and joined the hippies.

Since those youthful days I have never missed a chance to go to the polls and cast my ballot for the person and the cause that made the most sense to me. The candidates on the ballot weren’t always my first pick and the initiatives weren’t always exactly what I wished for, but I choose the pragmatic path and voted for what I considered the best of what was on offer. Many times I was on the winning side. Many other times my picks lost. I still feel that my vote counts and that I have an obligation as a citizen to cast it. I don’t want to be complicit by letting my uncast vote count towards a person or cause I don’t believe in, even when the vote I will cast will go to someone or to a cause I do not think is perfect. As they say “nobody is perfect.” Better incremental steps than going backwards.

I am fascinated by my Mexican friends who tell me that they don’t think it makes a difference whom they vote for, since all the politicians are just the same – corrupt. Yet 30 million Mexicans went out to cast their votes for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador just this year. In so doing they made a historic statement that they too believe their votes count and that they could in fact change the course of Mexico. Only time will tell if they will get what they voted for.

I have a hard time accepting that some of my country people don’t bother to vote. Voting is one way of defending the rights of citizens. If we don’t make our voices heard on election day, how will we be able to defend our liberty? Whether our candidate wins or loses, we need our liberty. I don’t want to be complicit and give away my rights. It would be easy to let the country slide down that slippery slope to authoritarianism. It has happened before in other countries, it could happen to us.

So enough confessing. Here is how to vote from abroad: Go to
https://www.votefromabroad.org/vote/home.htm or
https://www.fvap.gov/

Use the links on these sites to register to vote, from the last address where you lived in the US, even if you have not lived there for a long time. Voting is by state, so you have to let the voting registrar in your former state know where you are now and that you want to vote as a US citizen living abroad. The form is called the FPCA. The Federal Post Card Application. It is a federal form especially for overseas citizens, military or civilian. One of the best things about updating your registration this way is you can request your ballot by email! Email it back to your state.

Don’t delay. Your ballot should arrive up to 45 days before the election so you can get it back to your state on time. Time is of the essence now.

One more confession; I hope you will vote this year.

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Barbara Erickson lives in San Miguel de Allende. She retired after selling her business in Southern California and happily moved to Mexico with her husband of many years in 2003. She loves Mexican artesanĂ­a, traveling in Mexico, studying Spanish and being with friends.

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