Friday, September 26, 2008

All I Want to Do is VOTE!!!

2004

Last Presidential election, I was in Africa. The Peace Corps being a good lil' government organization, they had us fill out all the paperwork for absentee ballots when we arrived in country. We received our ballots for the 2004 Presidential Election, however, on Thanksgiving, three weeks after the election. (Gee, I wonder how most of the Peace Corps Volunteers would have voted…)

john kerry cc license world economic forumclip_image001 

2008

I don't want to miss voting again, so I've spent the last few weeks attempting to register for overseas voting. In all fairness, the American side of things has done a lot to make this as american flag cc ladybugbkteasy as  possible. Obama's website has links to help you register, including a link to the Overseas Vote Foundation. That website helps you fill out the forms you need to register, gives you information on when and where to send things, and has an emergency ballot you can print if your ballot doesn't arrive on time. This is all wonderful.

nigerian flag cc Mad Appler exclamation point colon space paranthesis drunken god close paraenthis space Li What is not so wonderful, is the Nigerian side of things. Even the "good" internet I have at home is so slow it took several hours to go through the site and download my finished registration form. And since I don't often have several hours in a clump, it wound up taking several days. Then I spent about a week trying to print the form. Finally getting a physical copy, with my signature, in my hands, I sent it with Uncle Tubosu to send express. Whoops - that costs $100, never mind! We found out about the extravagant pricing today; the form needs to be in Cudahy by October 15th. It's Friday at noon in Nigeria. Adventure time!

The Adventure

Tubuso took a taxi to bring me the envelope because I know where the regular post office is and he doesn't. I know it closes early on Friday, but I don't know what early is. The post office isn't open on Saturday or Sunday. Next week is Independence Day, which gives everyone a three day holiday. But the government hasn't announced yet which three days that will be. If it's Monday thru Wednesday, the post office won't be open again until Thursday October 3rd. Letters I've sent to the US so far have taken about 2 and a half weeks to get there. This has to go out today.

I met Tubuso at the side gate of work. Luckily, I checked the inside of the envelope before walking too far. He had taken out the address slip and not put it back. I turned around and rushed back towards work. Down the parking ramp, into the building, around the corner, down the hall, up the elevator (thank goodness it was working) and into my office. Address, check, written on envelope, check.

Back down the stairs, down the hall, out the building, "you are welcome," up the ramp, down the block, "hello," across the street, down another block, "yes madam," across another street, through the parking lot, "it fits you," past the first building, past the second building, into the third building, down the hall, and finally into the post office, "oh thank goodness; it's still open."

The regular post office doesn't have any sort of express mail, but the lady said it will leave here today. Wisconsin allows email registration if it is followed with receipt of the mailed, signed, form and the email is sent the same day the form is postmarked. I think I'll be ok. Whew! Job completed. Then, it was back to work. (Just read the previous paragraph in reverse. )

I arrived back in the office with chafed knees and dripping sweat. Really, it hurts, feels like rug burn. Have you ever tried to walk mermaids with beans cc license really fast while dressed like a mermaid? (or "seafoam"?) It's very hard to get anywhere when you can't move your knees more than two inches apart from each other. There's some stairs here that are just a little too high, I can't step up them; I have to hop. And when I go from the front door to the kitchen door at home, I look like a giant turquoise bunny rabbit, bouncing from stone to stone. But, at least I look nice, or, as the Nigerian's say "it fits me."

And more importantly, I think I'll be able to vote.

 

 Credits

[All images used are licensed under (cc) licenses that allow non-commercial use for free.  To search for your own legally free images, go to http://search.creativecommons.org/.

George Bush by-nc-nd The Googly at http://flickr.com/photos/44124427654@N01/65873005/

John Kerry by-sa Economic World Forum at http://flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/374718010/

American Flag by-nd ladybugbkt at http://flickr.com/photos/branditressler/2639804678/

Nigerian Flag by-nc Mad Appler!: (drunken god) Li at http://flickr.com/photos/31663765@N00/356507216

Mermaids (cc) Beans Around the World at http://www.beans-around-the-world.com/mermaid.html]

6 comments:

jess said...

at least you'll get to vote! what an adventure!

MaryRuth said...

Isn't this what the Embassy is for? I would think they would be bending over backwards to serve AMERICAN CITIZENS! But bless you for trying so hard to make it happen!

goldenrail said...

jess: well, one step closer to voting, anyway.
MR: I don't even know where the embassy is. I emailed them before I came and they weren't too helpful. In Zambia, we weren't allowed to utilize the embassy. So I guess I'm just used to going at it without them.

Marina said...

Hi, What a story! You might suggest the low bandwidth site provided by the nonpartisan Overseas Vote Foundation site:
http://www.overseasvotefoundation.org

Marina said...

P.S.
You might want to send your emergency ballot, the FWAB (Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot) now so that you are sure that it gets there in time. OVF has automated the process of filling it out so you can use the tool on the OVF low bandwidth site if it works better for your Internet service.

goldenrail said...

Marina: thanks! That lite version of Overseas Vote Foundation is so much easier to use.