Mexico Voting Project Helps US Expats Cast Ballots
Ricardo Castillo - The News
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July 23, 2012
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE – The Mexico Voting Project to promote the election participation of U.S. citizens living in Mexico kicked off last week.
Though organized by Democrats Abroad (DA), the campaign, says national parliamentarian officer Gunnar Erickson, is nonpartisan and aimed at “encouraging Americans residing in Mexico to vote,” whether they are Democrats or Republicans.
According to the International Education and Research Center, there are 800,000 Americans living in Mexico, and of those, 485,000 are eligible to vote. The figure does not include tourists.
Erickson, a former Tinseltown (Hollywood) lawyer, has lived in Mexico for the nine past years and is an active member of the largest chapter of the fast-growing DA, San Miguel de Allende. There are DA chapters in Mexico City, Chapala, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán, among others.
U.S. citizens who intend to vote should start their registration process right now, says Erickson, as there is an Aug. 15 deadline to meet.
“This deadline varies by state as there are some states in which you can walk in on election day.”
He recommends doing it now, because for some people “the process is difficult, frustrating and bureaucratic” at first, “but once people have voted once they are going to do it again.”
Erickson says, “Personally, this is the third election I will vote in from Mexico.”
There are several steps to take to register, request your ballot and vote. Also, registration options vary.
DA has developed a simple step-by-step procedure to register in an instruction guide which you can get by sending an email to email@example.com.
Erickson says that “in 2009, there was a new law called Military Overseas Vote Empowerment (MOVE) that is powered by the Pentagon. They are every voter’s assistant programs.”
He also recommends visiting sites such as www.votefromabroad.org and www.canivote.org, which are civilian organizations aiding Americans abroad to facilitate their vote.
In the instruction guide, Democrats Abroad also recommends those in doubt to send their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for an immediate response.
“The important thing right now is getting your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) before August 15 to make things easier and assure you will cast your vote.”
But, says Erickson, “if people neglect filing their FPCA by August 15, they should be able to get their ballot registered by the middle of September.”
If in doubt, write Erickson or consult any of the email addresses mentioned above.
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