>So, I got my absentee ballot this week. That’s right, I sent my request at the end of September and received the ballot last week. Well after the election. And it makes you wonder was it intentional? Well, clearly some one’s asking some questions. MemeBean heard on the news that the State of AL and the Secretary of State (who is responsible for elections) is being sued by the Justice Department. There’s an article on one of the Huntsville, AL TV station websites about it.
So, let me tell you about the Bean family experience with the absentee balloting experience. I went out to the Alabama website back in July to find out the dates, no way was I letting this election get past me. The information clearly stated that absentee ballot requests were due no later than 4 days before the election. While that isn’t enough time to get the ballot, no worries from my end. I would apply as early as possible and then go from there.
Then in the last week of September, MemeBean heard the Secretary of State on the radio saying that absentee ballot requests had to be RECIEVED by the end of September. Now, I had checked the website and was certain of what it said. So, the last week of September I completed my application for the absentee ballot and mailed it using the fine postal system here in Jordan. I also advised El 3atal that he needed to go ahead and get his taken care of. We had had some issues with our registration due to mail forwarding and what-not in the US. So, in the first week of October he called the Voter Registration folks in Alabama. They confirmed that he was registered and updated the address. He asked about the registration process for the absentee ballot. The young man on the phone told him it was too late. Well, being stubborn and rule-conscious, I told him to ignore this guy and go ahead and submit the application anyway.
I had rather expected that Alabama would be recieving absentee ballot requests, processing them, and sending out the ballots as they came in. Clearly that isn’t what happened. El 3atal had a trip to the US in the second week of October, so I quickly completed the Federal “Emergency” Write-In Ballot (thanks Overseas Voting Foundation for your easy process for this) and sent it with him to be mailed. I reminded him to do his while he was there as well. He did so and we went on with our lives knowing we had done everything we could. I also went on-line to check the dates one final time before telling him the exact details and they were gone… My oh my, well, we’d just go on what I had already read.
And then, last week, the ballots finally came. They were postmarked October 29, 2008. So, clearly they waited until the deadline before sending out any absentee ballots. Talk about trying to disenfranchise overseas voters… You might have noticed that Alabama went solidly for John McCain. You may not be aware that absentee voters typically vote fairly heavily Democrat. I have to admit, part of me thinks this approach was intentional.
I’m a little more savvy (and a lot less patient) than many. I refused to sit and wait on my absentee ballot, went on-line to find out how to vote without it and did so. So, on election day when MemeBean was working the polls at our polling station, she checked and saw that we were already listed as having voted absentee. But what about those who did wait on their ballots? How many waited too long and were unable to get their ballots in? Alabama is the ONLY state that does not allow express mail delivery of the ballot. The only options are in person or by US mail. I ask you, how many Alabama voters were stripped of their right to vote by this campaign of misinformation and late mailings? I’d sure like to know. I’m glad someone else is asking questions too… Maybe I should let MemeBean talk to the ACLU about filing that lawsuit after all…? Maybe Alabama needs to hear loudly and clearly that we overseas voters are here and WILL be counted. Stand up, fellow Alabamians overseas, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard!
Happy Vote Rigging!