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NY Times on overseas voting problems

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Reading this article is like reading about my own difficulties recently. After sending a registered mail to the board of elections in suburban Pittsburgh for my wife, we waited and waited and waited to receive even a receipt from reception (which we paid for, costing over $8) and to date that has yet to arrive. Fortunately her ballot did arrive, after an overseas phone call to the office (again paid for by us) and once we read the document we placed it in a special place so that nothing would touch it because the instructions are rather strict, probably to avoid tampering. A special #2 pencil was mailed with the document but one mistake and it's over and she will have to request another ballot.

My own ballot is said to be in the mail (again, after an international phone call at my expense) but so far, nothing. To chase up all of this requires time and expenses. Once we mail in our votes to our respective counties in PA, we will be spending over $16 of our own money to make sure that the documents arrive properly and safely. The Dem's Abroad have even recommended that people send their papers via Federal Express. For a regular, non-military voter overseas you really have to make an effort to go through this process and you have to be willing to spend a decent amount of your own money just to make sure that your vote gets there. Having it counted is yet another worry. Staff at the election offices in both counties in PA have said that they are swamped with overseas requests, which ought to be great news from Kerry because his support is quite strong with Americans abroad.

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