With the midterm elections rapidly approaching in November, many Americans are beginning to worry about their votes.
A recent poll by Politico and Morning Consult found that 52% of registered voters believed Russia was likely to try to influence the 2018 midterm elections for Congress, while a Supreme Court decision in June upholding Ohio’s aggressive voter-roll purging practices has renewed concerns about who gets stripped from state registration lists, especially among Democrats.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your vote this November and beyond.
Re-register whenever you move
If you move, make sure you quickly re-register at your new address.
If you still maintain a residence in the U.S. and have moved, re-register by going to VotefromAbroad.org and do so. The site will guide you through the steps to qualify. If you no longer have a residence in the US and live abroad, register with your last known address in the United States. If you need help, watch for VotefromAbroad assistance provided by Democrats Abroad at various locations in Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay.
This link will show you their schedule: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i7M55ZCqwqDpWidOakBO3MiE-C39s3jvdanRWknnaFw/edit#
Check your mail
If you still have a residence in the U.S., The National Voting Rights Act requires states to send a notice by mail asking voters to confirm their address before removing their name from voter registration lists, unless they have already asked to be removed. But, as was the case in Ohio, the notices can easily be mistaken for junk mail.
Double-check your registration
Before Election Day comes, check that you are still registered to vote and that your registration is up to date. These records are often available through your state Secretary of State’s website. You can also use databases compiled by nonprofits, like Vote.org or VotefromAbroad.org, and each site will walk you through registration and request for Absentee ballot.
If you don’t have regular access to the internet, you can check in with those who are helping people in person through various locations for VotefromAbroad in Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay (see above schedule).
If you have re-registered, you should have signed up for an electronic ballot. Those ballots should arrive September 22 or 23. You should vote as early as possible for your vote to count. Every state will mail absentee ballots to certain voters who request one, but up to 20 states require a reason that you need one, such as the fact that you’ll be out of the state during the election.
The last realistic day for votes to be delivered through the consular mail pouch is September 30. After that date, you are responsible for getting your ballot to the U.S. We recommend Ishop & Mail at 178 Mina, a short distance from the lighthouse on the Malecon, or in the Peninsula Plaza Local C-1 , as the most reliable mail-forwarding service.
Check in with your friends and family
Once you have voted, check in with your friends. Research shows that the most effective means of getting out the vote remains casual in-person contacts and many people are motivated to vote by a sense that their friends and neighbors are doing so as well. If you have young people in your family, give them a nudge to be sure to register and vote.
Cast a Federal ballot
If all else fails and county election officials cannot immediately indicate your registration status or you cannot receive a ballot abroad in time, you do have another option.
Tables with volunteers from Vote From Abroad will be set up in front of Daiquiri Dick’s at 314 Olas Altas on September 26 between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm to help you register and to vote with a Federal ballot. This ballot is good for voting only for federal office holders and will be available at the site. A second date for getting these ballots is October 3 in front of Daiquiri Dick’s between 10:30 am and 2:30 am. But on or after this date, you will be responsible for mailing the ballots yourself.
Double-check that your vote was counted
In some states, you can check to see that your vote was counted on a database on your Secretary of State’s website.
While it won’t say who you voted for or by what method you cast your vote, it will indicate a vote happened.
If you find out that your vote wasn’t counted, call your Secretary of State’s office.
Always Vote regularly
When state officials do voter roll purges, they typically look for inactive voters. That means if you only vote during presidential elections or when there’s a big issue on the ballot, you’re more at risk of having your registration canceled.
In addition, the National Voting Rights Act requires that states wait multiple election cycles where voters don’t show up on Election Day before pruning them from the list.
VOTER REGISTRATION OPPORTUNITIES
The Federal Voter Assistance Guide suggests that people register 90 days before the election. Right now we have just 55 days before the November 6 General Election…
So, if you want to vote you need to register now!
In Puerto Vallarta
Ishop & Mail at Peninsula Plaza, Local C-1
Thursday, September 20, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Casa Tranquila – Jose Ma Morelos 7-A, Las Palmas
Tuesday, September 18 and 25, 10:30 am – 12:30 am
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
Ana Banana Pub – Tiburón #42, Centro
Tuesday, September 18 and 25, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Registered voters should receive their ballots by SEPTEMBER 22. As soon as received, please complete and return them via email, fax, or mail. Or drop them off at the registration tables on the above dates.
The way the ballots can be returned depends upon the state, each one different. If you have any questions, please go to Votefromabroad.org or fvap.gov. If your state allows, you may be able to register and then cast your ballot online. Request an Absentee Ballot be mailed to you electronically.
For more information, go to one of the above websites or the registration sites.