Americans abroad can once again use their embassies to send ballots and voting material back to the US, thanks to Senator Tim Kaine and a Democrats Abroad webinar call.
On May 8th, Democrats Abroad was honored to speak with Senator Tim Kaine on a zoom call. During the course of the call, one of our members from Kazakhstan noted that they were no longer able to use their consulate to send in their ballot. We asked the Senator about this issue, and he immediately suggested that we should work on a remedy together. We got in touch immediately and are delighted to share the following message from Senator Kaine with all DA members worldwide:
We’re happy to report back that after some persistent engagement over the last few weeks, the State Department has agreed to revise its guidelines and will now provide voting assistance services during Phase I of its reopening plan. It is our understanding that most State facilities are shifting into Phase I within the week.
Under State’s “Diplomacy Strong” reopening plan, Phase 0 (pandemic-driven skeleton staffing) permitted only life-or-death services and emergency repatriations. Phase I permits resumption of contact-free mission critical services and partial re-staffing. Voting assistance was previously categorized as a non-essential service for Phase II, which some locations may not move to for several weeks or even months. However, as we pointed out, the ability to vote certainly meets the definition of mission critical in an election year, and the standard use of secure ballot collection boxes does not require any face-to-face contact.
State advised all embassies and consulates of this change on June 4. At our further recommendation, State also directed embassies and consulates to message out their current ballot acceptance policies to all U.S. citizens in their districts, and to continuously provide updates if their local policy changes.
There may still be some locations where voting assistance services will not be possible in the short term due to external issues (such as local movement restrictions limiting access to the embassy, or airport closures preventing international diplomatic pouch shipments). However, at minimum Americans at those locations will now know in advance if they need to make alternate arrangements.
Thank you again for flagging this for us, and please do keep us posted if you hear anything further from Democrats Abroad’s members.
Democrats Abroad would like to send a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Senator Kaine for his assistance on this important issue. The voting process is a sacred right for all American citizens, no matter which country they call home. Our members are grateful that our voices and concerns will be heard and that they will be addressed as befitting our status as citizens of the United States of America.
Democrats Abroad Ecuador holds voter registration events Tuesday and Friday of the month. Come learn how to vote from abroad and meet fellow Democrats. We will discuss common questions such as:
* What is the process to vote as a US citizen living abroad?
* Can I vote in the primaries as an overseas voter?
* I want to vote in the 2020 elections--What should I do now?
* I'm already a registered voter and/or my state always sends my blank ballot. Why should I send in the FPCA form?
Our registration events are held in Cuenca at Café de Ñucallacta II, Av. 3 de Noviembr (Plaza Otorongo) from 12 PM to3 PM
Does your state accept elections materials using alternatives to postal mail, such as email, online upload, or fax? Or is postal mail mandated?
I. States restricting transmission to postal mail for
a. Voter Registration (FPCA)
b. Ballot Request (FPCA)
May submit FPCA by email or fax, but must mail form too:
c. Voted Ballot Return 🗳
May return by email or fax, but must mail marked ballot too:
II. States offering electronic options (email, online access, fax) to
a. Deliver Blank Ballot to Voter
Every state will send absentee ballot electronically to voters abroad if preference to receive voting materials by "Email or online" or "Fax" is indicated on Ballot Request form (FPCA).
b. Return Voted Ballot 🗳
- Alabama – return using online upload of ballot if choosing to received voting materials by "Email or online."
- Alaska – return by fax if choosing to received voting materials by "Email or online" or "Fax."
- California – return by fax
- Colorado – vote online at ballotreturn.sos.colorado.gov
- District of Columbia
- Florida – return by fax
- Louisiana – return by fax with prior arrangement by LEO
- Montana – vote online at www.vote4montana.us
- Nebraska – return by email or fax with prior arrangement by LEO
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Oklahoma – return by fax
- Rhode Island – check with your election official to return by email or fax
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Below is a list of dates and locations where you can safely drop-off your sealed ballot to be brought to the Embassy and delivered into the U.S. Mail. As always, if you have any questions, you can contact us at info-Ecuador@democratsabroad.org.
When: October 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 & 12 from 11am-2pm
Where: Café de Nucallacta #2, Plaza Otorongo
When: September 29, October 6 & 13 from 9-11 am
Where: Mr. Bagel Coffee Shop, Portugal E10-95 y Seis de Diciembre
When: October 8, 10 & 12 from 9am-12pm & October 9 & 11 from 2-5pm
Where: Edificio Saint Thomas, Malecón de Salinas, Apt #9-B
When: October 14 from 10am-12pm
Where: Sabor de Bamboo (aka Meier’s)
When: October 12 & 19 from 6:30-8:00 pm
When: October 9 from 11am-2pm & October 11 from 4-7pm.
Where: San Marino Mall at the El Español Café. Mall address: Francisco de Orellana Avenue y Avenue C L Plaza Dañín.
When: October 9 & 11 from 9:30-11:00am
Where: Eddie’s Café (aka Intag Café), Plaza San Francisco
When: October 8, 9, 10, 11 from 4-6 pm.
Where: Zarza Brewing Co., Calles Puerto Bolivar y Esmeraldas
DA EC is the official country committee for US Democrats living in Ecuador. Watch this space for upcoming announcements of meetings and events - we have events planned throughout the year, and encourage anyone interested in participating to get in touch.
If you have questions or would like to help with Democrats Abroad in Ecuador please contact us at info-Ecuador@democratsabroad.org and be sure to follow us on Facebook!