Voting Blog

Volunteer Opportunities - How to Support the Senate Runoff in Georgia

Interested in helping Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev Raphael Warnock win election to the US Senate--and help Democrats gain control of the Senate?

Click on this link for Volunteer Opportunities


Cure Your Ballot

Make sure your ballot counts this year - track your ballot to check it has been accepted.

You can still "cure" your ballot in states including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina.

*Check your email, especially your spam folder and any secondary inboxes, for any notices from your county. Any questions? Get in touch in the comment bubble below or email gotv@democratsabroad.org.

Arizona voters
1. Check your ballot status: https://my.arizona.vote/AbsenteeTracker.aspx
   [Website requires a Voter Identification number--check the email you received when you got your ballot]
2. If there is a problem or if you can't access the website, contact your county immediately to find out how to "cure" it
    [find contact info here]
3. Maricopa county ballot cure details
Deadline to Cure:  5th business day after federal election = Nov 10, 2020

Georgia voters
1. Check your ballot status: https://georgia.ballottrax.net/voter/ or  https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do
   [After you submit your information, go to "Click here for Absentee Ballot status" in lower left box]
2. If there is a problem, contact your county immediately [find contact info here]
3. You will need to send in a photo ID (US passport or military ID is ok) & Signature Cure affidavit confirming the ballot is yours
(You can send in ID and affidavit by email or fax)
Deadline to Cure:  3 days after election = Nov 6, 2020

Nevada voters

1. Check your ballot status: https://nevada.ballottrax.net/voter/ or  https://www.nvsos.gov/VoterSearch/ 
2. If there is a problem, contact your county clerk immediately (find contact info here)
3. You will need to confirm your signature belongs to you. The process is set up on a county by county basis.
Deadline to Cure:  7 days after federal election = Nov 12, 2020 at 5pm (Nevada time)

North Carolina voters

1. Check your ballot status: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/
2. If there is a problem, contact your county clerk immediately (find contact info here)
3. You will need to provide an Absentee Cure Certification if your signature is missing or in the wrong place (you can send in the Absentee Cure Certification by email or fax)
Deadline to Cure:  7 days after federal election = Nov 12, 2020 at 5pm ET


More details on ballot "curing" 

Part of the process of counting absentee ballots is verifying that these have been submitted following the state election rules. If such a problem arises, the ballot may not be accepted and therefore not counted. Many states’ election laws provide for a process called ‘curing,’ which gives voters a chance to fix this problem so that their ballots can be counted.

Ballot curing entails two steps:

1. The Local Election Official identifies a problem including:

A) A voter’s signature doesn’t match the one on file. This can happen if a voter signs their ballot materials with a mouse or trackpad, making the signature
different from one written with a pen. If the signature on file is years or decades old, it may differ from the current signature.
B) A voter’s signature is missing or in the wrong place on the ballot
C) Witness information (where relevant) is incorrect or incomplete.

2. The LEO contacts the voter and offers a way to fix or “cure” the problem. Typically, the LEO will give the voter an affidavit to sign and return with a form of identification like a copy of a passport or state driver’s license. By completing this process, the ballot can then be counted. (For a complete list of the verification process by state, click here. For a list of states that allow signature correction, click here.)


General Election Voting Survey

 >>> Share your voting experience <<<

Your voter story can help Americans abroad protect our right to have our ballots counted.

Democrats Abroad is preparing to go to court to fight for absentee ballots to be counted in the United States. Please share your voting experience in this short survey. We will also use this information to push for election reform in Congress and in state legislatures.

 


Vote from Abroad: Voter registration training

 

Help Get Out The Vote (GOTV) in 2020

Are you an American living abroad and want to help register voters that live abroad?
Drop in for one of our voter trainings and learn how easy it is help get out the vote wherever you are around the world!
Event length will vary based on factors but average session 1-2 hrs

Video Training for GA Senate Run-off election. Questions? Email: Comms@votefromabroad.org

https://youtu.be/XnVNaWrPOLc

For Generic Voter Registration training see below:

You can also watch this handy training video (just hit play) to get the basics of voter registration using votefromabroad.orgOnce you have taken a training take this certification quiz. Once you've done that you'll hear from us!

 

Should you have training questions email: Comms@votefromabroad.org

Here is a handy website to convert the time zone to yours wherever you are in the world.

 


What to do if your FWAB is rejected

Are you worried about your Federal Write in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) getting accepted by your election office in the US? Federal law protects these ballots, and we can help too. If you hear from your local election office that they have turned down your FWAB, please consider sending your election officer the below email, customized to your situation. 

For supporting guidance on FWABs, we recommend reviewing this document from the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP.gov).

Read more

Email Ballot Return

Every state is required by the federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act (the “MOVE Act”) to provide blank absentee ballots to military and overseas voters (“UOCAVA voters”) in at least one electronic format—email, fax or online delivery system.  And, every state must do so at least 45 days before an election.  This year, that deadline is September 19, 2020.

This federal requirement is limited to sending blank ballots to voters.   The MOVE Act allows each state to direct how these ballots are to be returned.  Currently, 35 states and territories have gone beyond the federal requirement to allow UOCAVA voters to submit their voted ballots electronically (email, fax or online) as well.  This leaves 20 states that require return via post.

This year, postal delivery and consular pouches from abroad will be significantly delayed, and in some cases altogether unavailable.  Hundreds of thousands of UOCAVA ballots will be received too late to be counted. What can states do to enfranchise their overseas voters in time for the November 2020 election?

The best solution is to allow and enable ballot return via email.  Twenty-six States already allow emailed ballot return, which attests to its efficiency and relative security; even more states are moving in that direction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In July 2020, Vermont amended its procedures to allow for the email return of ballots from countries that do not have reliable postal service to the United States. In mid-August Rhode Island also shifted its requirements, allowing UOCAVA voters to return their ballots by email rather than fax, Missouri has recently confirmed that it will extend the practice they adopted during their primary and allow email ballot return, and Iowa has also moved to email ballot return. Wyoming is working with its counties to provide either fax or email ballot return for their overseas voters. 

No state in the US handles more ballot returns by email than Washington State, which transmitted more than 100k ballots to UOCAVA voters in 2016. 

King County, Washington, for instance, has assembled a nonpartisan “Alternative Format Ballot Team” within the Elections Administration section to handle email and faxed ballots. The team has its own procedures, guidelines and training; most are paid staff who work for 2-3 weeks during each election season.  The team maintains a secure email account to which voters can email their ballots as attachments; the account is completely separate from the broader state election network to mitigate system infiltration. 

During election season, the team monitors the email account regularly.  When a ballot is received, team members manually download each ballot from the email account, save it to a folder and print it according to their procedures. They also check spam and other background folders to ensure that no ballots are inadvertently sorted there.  Voter authentication is generally ensured by signature verification. Once a ballot is received, printed and stored, the signature is compared to the one on record for that voter. In addition, each ballot has a unique serial number which is connected to that ballot and voter.  Once authenticated, the printed ballots are fed into the tabulating process just as any ballot received via postal mail.  The same basic process is replicated in Oregon and other email states.

Compared to more complicated online voting portals (such as in West Virginia) the security considerations for email ballot return are relatively straightforward. The largest risk vector is attachment security, i.e. someone intercepting an emailed ballot after it is sent by a voter but before it is received by the state elections account.  The two manifestations of that risk are (1) election system infiltration from an intercepted ballot and (2) illicit changes to an intercepted ballot - but these risks are small. To protect against the former, most states already have cybersecurity software that performs a threat scan on all incoming attachments; separating the UOCAVA computer from the broader state election system can further mitigate this risk. Regarding the latter, a one-off opportunity to affect a single ballot is simply not the sort of risk that usually materializes. The larger risk in electronic submission would come from a denial of service attack, which would overwhelm election systems and prevent voted ballots from getting through. DNS attacks are very noticeable events, however, and allow election officials the opportunity to respond with other delivery options.

Privacy considerations also arise with emailed ballots. To be sure, such ballots will not remain private and anonymous, but voters who decide to vote by email are informed and must expressly agree to this as a trade-off for a guaranteed counted vote transmitted with ease. In Oregon, for instance, voters must sign a secret ballot waiver form when voting by email. In King County, Washington, there is an affirmative statement to this effect on the online ballot form. States can also decide to compartmentalize the downloading, printing, authenticating, and counting of emailed ballots, thereby reducing the election personnel exposed to email voter identities. 

The additional costs of implementing an email ballot return system is minimal. Every state already has online voter registration systems, so they also already have certain electronic security protocols in place. Every state already has some personnel to review, authenticate and tabulate UOCAVA votes received via mail, as well. The only additional cost of allowing emailed ballots is the cost of maintaining and checking a separate email account; saving and printing the attachments; and tabulating more votes—which should be the ultimate goal of any election process.  

In the end, all forms of voting carry risks that may be outweighed (or not) by the practicality of enfranchising voters. In 2020, voters face obstacles that have never before been fully appreciated—e.g. the health risk of in-person voting, the disruption of postal services around the world, and the uncertainty of diplomatic pouches. So this year, states that have been slow to modernize their voting methods need to weigh these real and proven obstacles (and guaranteed voter disenfranchisement of several million voters) against the potential cyber risks that would follow from allowing these voters to exercise their right via email—just as a majority of states already allow. 

 


Voting Issues for postal mail voters abroad: US Postal Service return to sender (NIXIE label)

Summary: During the 2018 general election cycle, hundreds of postal mailed ballots and other voting materials were erroneously returned to voters abroad by the USPS from International Service Centers in the US, principally the ISC in NY. The USPS was unable to explain why this material was returned to sender. 

Details: During the course of the research that Democrats Abroad conducted into this issue, we talked with Lori Gaither-Gordon from USPS (a senior consumer manager based in CT) and Lisa Del Rio Leavenworth (Inplant Support – NEA).  

Read more

Three simple steps you can take to protect your vote

As we come closer to the Nov elections, there are still many countries without international postal service due to the Covid pandemic and the USPS is being compromised and undermined in order to deter vote by mail.

In the face of this we are having to take extra care, diligence and determination to ensure that our voted ballots arrive at our local elections office on time to be counted for the Nov elections.

Here are three things that you can do to help make sure your ballot is received on time and counted:

  1. If you voted in the primary, please contact your local elections office to find out if your voted primary ballot was both received and accepted (by ‘accepted’ we mean counted). Knowing this means that if for any reason your primary ballot was NOT accepted, you have the opportunity to correct the issue before the presidential election. Some states may allow you to check the accepted status of your ballot via the resources at the bottom of the state pages, for others you may have to contact your elections office directly.

    If your ballot was rejected please give detail of this in the survey form and also include contact details if you require support in resolving any voter issues ahead of the Nov elections.

  2. If you think there could be any reason for a signature mismatch with your voted ballot (change in marital status for example), please check with your local elections office before you complete your ballot.

  3. If you vote in a state that requires ballot return by mail, please vote NOW using the Backup Ballot (FWAB), in order to get a headstart on the postal delivery. You can also mail in the official ballot which should arrive on Sept 19. If both ballots arrive by the deadline, only your official ballot will be counted; the Backup Ballot will be discarded.

Many thanks and happy voting!

DA Voter Protection
Democrats Abroad
voterprotection@democratsabroad.org


Geo-Blocked Voter Information Pages: Why It’s Happening and How You Can Fix It


Have you tried to access your state’s voter information pages, only to be met with a “Page Not Found” error message? You’re not alone! Some states are “geo-blocking” web traffic from outside the USA, which means access to voter registration, ballot status and other critical information will be denied if you’re using a foreign IP address. 

The solution: Use a VPN

These “firewalls”, intended to improve website security, are keeping U.S. citizens living abroad from accessing critical voter information. You can safely (and legally!) get around this by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN works by routing your device's internet connection through a private server rather than your internet service provider (ISP), so that when your data is transmitted to the internet, it comes from the “location” of the VPN rather than your computer. In this case, you’ll want to use a VPN located in the U.S. to access these blocked pages.

Read more

Asistencia Mundial Personalizada para Votar - en vivo

¿Sabías que todos los estadounidenses elegibles que viven en el extranjero pueden votar en las elecciones estadounidenses este año?

¿Tienes preguntas sobre cómo votar? Haz clic en la burbuja de chat en la parte inferior de esta pantalla y contestaremos todas tus preguntas.

Únete a nuestra sesión de ayuda en Zoom todos los domingos hasta el día de las elecciones en noviembre, desde las 00:00 hasta las 24:00 (Hora del Este de los Estados Unidos), para hablar con un voluntario sobre las preguntas que tengas sobre votar desde el extranjero.

¿Cómo funciona en Zoom? Entrarás en la sala principal y serás emparejado con un voluntario, uno a uno, en una sala privada de reunión para asegurar privacidad, y que puedas obtener respuestas a todas tus preguntas. ¡No podría ser más fácil!

Más información: La manera más fácil de solicitar tu boleta es en VoteFromAbroad.org/es. Sólo toma unos minutos completar el formulario y enviarlo al estado de Estados Unidos donde viviste por última vez. Si nunca viviste en Estados Unidos, puedes registrarte utilizando la última dirección de tus padres o familiares. No es necesario poder recibir correo postal en esta dirección, ni tener un vínculo actual con el domicilio.. Si nunca has votado desde el extranjero, el sitio web te guiará paso a paso. En la mayoría de los casos es bastante simple, pero es posible que tengas preguntas adicionales. Por eso estaremos aquí todos los domingos hasta el día de las elecciones para apoyarte.

Si no puedes asistir ningún domingo, puedes enviarnos un correo electrónico a helpdesk@votefromabroad.org, o enviar tu pregunta a través de nuestra burbuja de ayuda en línea, y un voluntario se pondrá en contacto contigo de inmediato.

Haz clic en una fecha para obtener detalles específicos.

Julio 26,  
Agosto 29,  1623, 30
Septiembre 6, 13, 20, 27
Octubre 4, 11, 18, 25
1o de Noviembre

 

Aquí puedes acceder a un sitio web que convertirá la zona horaria del evento a la hora de dondequiera que estés en el mundo.