Friday, October 17, 2008

Overseas Voters - It's Time to Register

Thanks to Tristero over at Hullabaloo, I discovered the best site for overseas US citizens to organize their vote. It's called the Overseas Vote Foundation and they provide the most user-friendly way to register and to receive your absentee ballot.

I don't know about you, but I find it a daunting prospect to call or go to the US Embassy here in Rome. Maybe it's easier in other cities, maybe it's the Italian civilian employees, maybe it's the over-the-top security procedures they have in place, whatever. It could be me. I have such a distrust of government still, and let's face it, at the US Embassy, government is right in your face, from the Marine guards at the entrance to the pictures of President Bush in every room.

In any case, I registered to vote just now, first time ever.


  1. I registered to try to make sure you are collateral damage in the next Med war.

    No offense. You don't live in a country, you don't vote for it's leaders. The longer you don't live in a country the closer to death you bring yourself by meddling. If you bring up such a thing in a pub or tavern in any country in the world of which you are no longer considered a resident, you are taking your own ass in you won hands.

    Do not take this as a threat, as it's not. It's pointing out your ARROGANCE AS AN EXPAT who wasn't even politically active to amount to anything, by his own blog admissions, when he lived in the USA.

  2. I may start a blog and make fun of Italian faggots that end up in the legislature as well as their porno star compatriots...I'll tell them Mikeb sent me....

  3. Mike,

    You don't like the government in your face?

    But that is exactly what we gunnies have to put up with in order to carry a firearm.
    I had to submit to a background check, get 2 sets of finger prints taken, list my previous addresses and places of employment for 10 years. Would you do that just to vote?
    There are lawsuits against people having to show a simple photo id to vote.

    Please don't take offense if I tell you that your hassles are petty compared to the ones we suffer trying to exercise our right to keep and bear arms.

    Over the top security procedures? Try walking into a courthouse in America now days. Metal detectors and wanding are the norm; I got turned back because I was carrying a pocket knive. It had a 1.5 inch blade on it; I suppose I could have gone crazy and opened a package or two but that's about it.
    After proving to the government that I am who I say I am you would think that it would be okay to carry a firearm into the court, right? After all cops get to carry firearms into the courts. Nope, Concealed Carry prohibited in courts. Also in schools- where many of the recent mass murders have taken place- prohibited.

    Sorry if I'm not sympathetic to your plight but you chose to move to another country. We are just trying to exercise rights guaranteed by the Constitution and get more grief.

    Here is an example Soccer Mom openly carrying

    Yesterday, a judge agreed and overturned the revocation of her permit

  4. good on you for voting, Mike. given your perspective, your vote is more likely than most to be well informed and carefully considered; there's quite a bit to be learned about one's native country from living abroad --- and about one's host country from being a foreigner in it.

    my own failure to vote absentee in my native country's elections is rather a sore, shameful point to me, actually. in my defense, keeping up with the politics of a small northern European country, never a big player on the world stage, sufficiently to cast an informed vote gets difficult when one lives in the midwest USA. also, i'd have to drive several hours to reach the nearest honorary consulate even --- more like days to get to an official consulate.

    (i was far more informed about U.S. politics before i immigrated here, without even trying to be, than i easily can be about my native country's politics right now. i'd have to go looking for news sources online, and there are cultural issues that mean just reading my native country's newspapers or listening to its radio newscasts won't necessarily give one the whole story on anything.)

  5. Mike, how exactly are you able to vote for President? Given the Electoral College, US Citiznens don't vote for President...State Residents do. Are you declaring yourself the resident of a US State? If So Which one? and How is that legal?

    Just curious. If its all above the boards, you have my support...tho I do have mixed feelings about your motives since you don't actully live here or intend to return as a full-time resident....

  6. umm.. hang on a minute! Mike is only exercising his rights and duty to vote. So what is your problemo there?

    As far as i know he is still an American citizen, it doesnt matter if he lives in the US at the moment or not. There might be a time when he wants to go back there and even if he does not choose to do so!The fate of his country is still ver close to his heart as far as i can tell and he does not want the angry old man to get his hands on the government. Rightly so!
    The other thing is - and that goes to tom- you don't live in a country you don't vote for his leaders?????
    Bullshit, do you think because he does not live in the glorious US he has not got an opinion and lost his citizen rights ???
    Btw, i doubt very much that he can vote in Italy for HIS leaders there!
    Mike, i totally understand your point about the annoyance of high security as well. Personally i did not vote in my homeland elections because they make it so difficult to obtain the right forms it is unreal. But that does not mean i do not have an opinion on the last and current government there and i sure have an opinion who i DO NOT want to see there.
    Thumbs up, Mike!
    i prob get to hear now that i am not allowed to have an opinion on the US politics ;)

  7. Not living in a country for ~20 years on purpose and then deciding you want to influence a very important election cycle, with no intent to ever live in the USA doesn't put you in the category of a soldier or logistics person stationed overseas. It puts you in the position of an arrogant meddling asshole in a country you CHOSE NOT TO LIVE IN DECADES AGO.

    People get their ass kicked for that kinda shit in most of the world. Tell you what, next time I go to Angola, and I've been there before, explain to them why I get to vote? They aren't even keen on me being in their country except for my tech skills. It'd make more sense me voting in Angola than you voting in US elections.

    QUISLING or Petain? you pick. Both?

    You are a SERIOUSLY SICK FUCK with no idea of your rightful place in the world and "m" doesn't even deserve a reply.


  8. Tom, I wish you would tell us what you really think. After all this time we've known each other, you don't have to pull any punches with me. Spit it out, man.

    Seriously, I found your point interesting after the first comment, I didn't need the increased abusive language to hear you. I hear you. Also Weer'd raises this point.

    First of all, who are you to say what my rights are? Aren't you the one who's into individual autonomy? The idea that I shouldn't vote for the leaders of a country I no longer live in is interesting, but who says? You? The law says differently. I very well spend my old age back in New Jersey or Vegas. Do I have to decide that now and would that determine my eligibility in your eyes?

    Furthermore, living here for 20 years hasn't changed the fact that I am American, by passport yes, but by mental and emotional ties that seem to be much stronger than I'd thought. The US influences the world, so even living here I have a personal stake in what happens there politically.

    Before closing, I just reread the comments and wondered if you were having a go at me and laughing the whole time you wrote that stuff. And here I come seriously answering point by point. If that's the case, I'm laughing too. If not, maybe you could tell me what yo think of my answers.

  9. Thanks Nomen and Mimi for the support. It's funny, I thought my not voting all these years was reason to be criticized, but I should have realized Tom would have a problem with my doing so.

    Tom, I thought of another thing I wanted to say to you. What the hell does Angola have to do with it? That was one of your bizarre comparisons. Were you born and raised there? Did you live there for the first 36 years of your life? Did you serve in their military during war time? Do you still consider yourself Angolan? What kind of a weird comparison is that, Tom?

  10. Weer'd, I think it is all above board. The site I linked to in the post seemed legit. It asks you for your last Stateside residence, which I put as NJ. It asks for your social security number, I suppose to do some kind of minimal background check.

    I heard that I may have missed the deadline; each state has a different one. I should have begun the process earlier.

    What do you think about Thomas's point? Is it right for an expat to vote? I think it's a fair question.

  11. actually, Tom, as you seem not to be able to reply without getting abusive I am quite glad you chose to ignore my comment.

    Mike, as an expat myself i understand where you are coming from. I consider myself a strange sort of Hy-Brit, i chose to live in Britain for various personal reasons but that will not change the fact that i am born and bred German. I get often ask if i dont want to change my citizenship and i say Nope!
    Why would I? I know several people who chose to become British but frankly i don't see the point of that. For me it would be just a meaningless outward sign, I am what or who i am. Changing loyalities just to "fit" in or gain some personal benefit is not my style.
    And this debate changed my mind, next time i will apply to vote, for sure!
    Because I bloody well CAN!
    and if i get my ass kicked for that in some Angolan bar... so be it!

  12. Mike, but how are you a legal New Jersey resident? You haven't had an address there in ages. I just fail to see, on states rights issue, how its any different than me wanting to vote in Maine (would mean more, as McCain is only 8 points behind Barry O there, and I really don't see Kerry loosing his Senate Seat this time around)

    I lived in Maine from Conception to age 24. The only difference is when I left I stayed in the United States.

    Still, while I see Tom's point (tho in this instance I think his crassness only occludes his very valid points) I also respect that you do in fact have a SS#, and a US Passport...and am I correct in understanding that you also pay US Federal Income Tax?

    Still, while you're still an American in both my eyes, and more importantly the eyes of the law...and have no voting rights that I know of in your chosen home, I fail to see how you're more a New Jerseyan (Is that correct?) than I am a Mainer.

    BTW where in Jersey did you live? Its a very interesting state, some sections closely approximate the surface of hell, while other areas are damn nice.

  13. actually, weerd, the USA is almost unique among nations in that it charges income tax on all its citizens no matter where they live and work. most other countries only tax those who live and work within their borders, regardless of citizenship (which the U.S. does too), but don't care about expats' earnings.

    you get to deduct the full amount of foreign taxes paid on foreign earnings from the U.S. income tax, but if the country you live in charges less tax than the USA does, the IRS wants the difference.

  14. Weer'd, I don't know a lot about this, but the on-line form I filled in asked about the last residence in the States. There were three choices, exact address, approximate address or describe the location, something like that. There was also a provision for those who were born overseas as citizens, like my kids, by the way, and who have never lived in the States. That sounds a little weird to me. My kids could vote when they're old enough, but why would they want to?

  15. Once again, without insulting you quite so much...

    Yes, I went back and looked. I was "crass" but I have valid points. The USA never officially had anybody in Angola or Thailand or Cambodia or RSA, or Botswana, etc. Spilled blood is spilled blood. I can show you mine and you can do a DNA match on the blood you scrape off the rocks.

    Call that however you want but I've left MY blood in their country in a war the Cubans "sorta" won. I don't think I'll be getting a voter invite in Rhodesia (notice the spelling, as the current regime is entirely illegitimate), or RSA or Mexico or Panama either.

    You can't run away from home for decades, ignore politics, have no intent to return to your former home and still call it your home and try to sway a very important election anymore than I can claim to have spilled blood and get a voter card in an African or Latin American nation. It's actually a bit dodgy if I'll be able to accept the job offer I have over there due to past employ.

    Do Spanish soldiers get to vote in Argentina?

    Legally, you are getting away with it. Morally it makes you a SICK BASTARD to meddle in the politics of a country you don't live in nor seem to have any intent to live in.

    I could have moved in time to get a voter card to a swing state to vote against your likely Obama vote as Texas is firmly a RED state and there are no worries here, but I'd have to actually make the effort to change my driving license, proof of residence such as rent receipts and utility bills, and all that.

    You have none of those but a SS# and a passport that says where you once lived a LONG TIME AGO.

    You aren't TDY in Italy. I don't see how you get to have any say.


    No punches pulled.

  16. You are polluting the vote of a country you have no desire to live in.

    Nice non-answer to my "polite" version in this discourse.

    ...Likely because you have no rational answer.

    Go ahead...spout some "one world government blather" at the very least and how it's "your duty" to protect the rest of the world by choosing the president of a country you refuse to live in.

  17. I think you may have a point, Thomas, but honestly it's hard to see it through all the macho bullshit. What you call a "polite version" contains this beauty: "Morally it makes you a SICK BASTARD."

    Whether it's right or not to vote in my case is in a completely different ball park than "sick bastard," don't you think?

    Furthermore, arrogance has nothing to do with it. You've read what I write enough to know that I'm not some arrogant pontificating know-it-all. In all our discussions, I think I've succeeded in being anything but that. An arrogant person would long ago have begun insulting you for your opinions and stands. Or do you think your positions are somehow above reproach and mine aren't?