Close Election has American Expats Eager to Vote Absentee
Angela Kocherga -
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October 20, 2012

OVF's step-by-step guide for military and overseas voters requesting their absentee ballot. (OverseasVote)

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico — The cobble stoned streets of San Miguel de Allende may seem far from the campaign trail but hundreds of Americans call the colonial town home. And the close presidential election has many eager to exercise their right to vote absentee.

“I don’t understand why there are so many people who have not decided” said Lisa Fullerton, a San Miguel de Allende resident.  “They’re not paying attention or they can’t think for themselves.”

Fullerton was walking her dogs Canela and Chispa down a hill toward the center of town. She’s among thousands of Americans living in Mexico who will vote abroad this election. Nobody knows the exact number. By most estimates, Mexico is home to at least a million Americans, the largest population of U.S. citizens living in a foreign country.

By law registered voters outside the U.S. including troops deployed overseas can request absentee ballots from their home States. Some States allow voters to download the ballot online but others only offer it fax or regular mail.

The non-profit, non-partisan Overseas Vote Foundation urges Americans to ensure their vote counts.  The foundation in partnership with FedEx launched the “Express Your Vote” program which offers international delivery of absentee ballots at discounted rates through October 31.   

“Every vote counts,” said  Dan Scher, who owns Casa Puesta del Sol, a bed and breakfast perched on a hill in San Miguel de Allende with a view of the well known pink Gothic style church.

“We call this Republican row the top of this street,” said Scher, who will vote to re-elect president Obama.

A fellow San Miguel resident, Larry Brewer, who plans to cast a ballot for Governor Romney says he’s outnumbered.  “The expatriates here are more artistically inclined and that kind of breeds more liberalism,” Brewer said.

He’s so determined to vote, he’s flying to his home state Texas to cast a ballot in the Dallas area because he did not trust the online system.

Several states failed to meet the deadline for sending out absentee ballots to voters abroad.  Americans who did not get their ballot in time can use the emergency federal write in ballot available online.    

But some are not taking chances.

“A lot of these people are going back to the states to vote,” Scher said.

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