I registered to vote in early August. I became worried my registration hadn’t worked when I didn’t receive a confirmation. In Minnesota, you can check the status of your voter registration online. I found that I wasn’t registered 5 weeks later. I panicked, after reading everything in the news, I was so worried I emailed the county. Luckily the server was just down and I was in fact registered!
Dropping off our ballots at the post office
And on September 21st, 2020 I received my absentee ballot per email. The email included two attachments. The first attachment included an 8 page document, 6 pages of which were instructions on how to complete my ballot, the final two pages were a ballot envelope template (an envelope for my completed ballot, to ensure its secrecy) and a mailing envelope template (an envelope which holds both my ballot envelope as well as a Certificate of Eligibility; this envelope is what I used to send my ballot to the U.S.). The second attachment was simply a two-page document, my ballot and the Certificate of Eligibility.
I wasn’t exactly sure what would be on the ballot this year. There is a question on the ballot that asks how long I have been abroad. In the past I have checked that I am living abroad indefinitely, and unfortunately, due to checking this box, I am no longer eligible to vote in state elections, just federal elections.
Nevertheless, I was surprised to see that I only had the opportunity to vote in three categories, for the U.S. President, U.S. Minnesota Senator and the Minnesota State Representative for my district. Unfortunately, I don’t pay much attention to local politics since moving to Germany. It was quite interesting to not know a single one of the candidates when it came to the State Representative. I have always voted with my party (to find out what party you identify with, check out this quiz: https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/quiz/political-party-quiz/ ), however I also think it is important to know who you are voting for.
I voted with two other Americans this past weekend. We met for a sugary American breakfast of French toast with strawberries and maple syrup, before going through the ballots together. We began by printing the ballots. Because we are all registered as living in different counties of Minnesota, our ballots looked very different. With the presidential election drowning out the Minnesota representatives up for election (drowning out: makes everything other than the presidential election difficult to read, find or learn about, because there are so many things regarding the presidential election, you could "drown" in them), none of us had heard of a single one of the state representatives. We spent over an hour looking at the candidate’s platforms, their goals and their voting history before making our final decisions.
Once we had finished voting, we began an arts and crafts project. We cut out the templates of our voting envelopes, which were then glued and taped to a normal envelope to ensure the ballots would be official. Just a few hours later, we had our ballots in the mail. It feels good knowing I did my civic duty and participated in the political process even from abroad!
#ivoted #2020election #votefromabroad #democracy #teachaboutus #getoutthevote