DA Voter Protection Update: 2021 Issues

We are in the throes of the 2021 election season, and we wanted to keep you informed of some of the voter protection issues that could crop up, to be aware of and to share with other Americans abroad.

Signature matching
Apart from ballots not arriving on time to be counted, signature matching is the second most common issue which stops ballots being counted. If a voter has concerns or is unsure about the signature being held on file for them, they should contact their local election officer (LEO) to check for potential issues now. 

Misinformation is common, and LEO’s can give the wrong information to voters from abroad. If you have an issue that you’re concerned about, do check that you’ve been given the correct info by contacting the DA Voter Protection Team ([email protected]) to get up to date info on the UOCAVA laws that protect your vote from abroad.

Voter Roll Purges
If a voter has been purged or is unable to verify they are registered to vote, they should send in a new FPCA now to re-register, even if the deadline has passed, so they are registered for other upcoming elections. This is important particularly for Florida voters who had wanted to vote in the special primary election in FL’s 20th Congressional District 20, as this will ensure they are eligible to vote in the special general election on January 11, 2022.

Geoblocking (voter information websites being blocked to foreign IP addresses).
Using a VPN often helps like the Opera browser (www.opera.com). If necessary, voters should also contact their LEO to help establish an appropriate workaround. We urge anyone encountering geoblocking to also contact the DA Voter Protection Team so that we can raise it with relevant bodies further up the chain (state voter protection teams, DNC, Board of Elections, FVAP). 

Nixie Issue (election materials marked ‘return to sender’)
In some cases, election materials going through the NY International Service Center for inbound international mail are being returned to voters marked ‘return to sender’ with a label which says ‘Nixie’ printed on it. Voters should use email or fax wherever possible to send their ballots. If required to return ballots by mail, do so as early as possible and if it is returned to sender, vote a new ballot by FWAB and use a courier as a workaround. We urge anyone dealing with a Nixie issue to contact the DA Voter Protection Team.

Other Issues 
The above are just some of the issues that may be encountered. Others may be election materials and ballots being held up in customs or problems with social security numbers. If you or someone you know is experiencing these or anything else stopping them from voting their ballots, please write to [email protected]. During the 2020 elections, we handled over 500 cases, helping voters abroad to successfully cast their ballots. Most importantly, don’t delay in seeking help if you’re experiencing a problem and always check for confirmation that your voted ballots have been received by the LEO. Voter protection issues usually crop up unexpectedly and addressing them at the last minute risks missing the election deadline. Let’s help ensure that ALL votes are counted in 2021!

Many thanks and happy voting!

Maya Buchanan & Martha McDevitt-Pugh
2021 Voter Protection Team Leads