19 October 2008

Absentee Voting

Now, I am set to temporarily return to the US. However, once home, I will need to look at my work situation before determining when I'll be back in Seoul. I do have to come back to Seoul before too long, but I don't know how this is going to work out, especially in regards to the election.

It will be a shame if Lee Myung-bak and Reverend Moon, both non-Americans, can pump billions of precious US dollars into continuing the Republican presidency in the US (and getting gay marriage banned in California while at it), and I, an American, can't even cast my vote to stop that.

I've just checked with my county registrar for options, though they are not too appetizing. But it does look like I will be able to vote after all.

The most likely scenario will be that I will come back to Seoul just a few days short of Election Day; that will also be the worst-case scenario, as I can neither vote in person in the US, nor vote absentee in Seoul and mail my ballot back in time to have it counted. There is a solution, however, though one that could potentially be fraught with fraud. It's possible for me to print out the sample ballot booklet (PDF) for my precinct, mark my choices on it, print out a fax ballot affidavit form and put my information and signature, and fax it back to my county registrar. I'll have to find a nearby Fedex-Kinko's location (there are a number of them here in Seoul) for the actual fax, however, and pay a small fee.

Once my ballot is faxed in, my vote will be transcribed onto an actual ballot card by someone else before counting; that will be where fraud is possible. And even though it may be Los Angeles County, California, as opposed to Florida or Ohio, I still don't trust the system; it'll be too easy and tempting for the Catholic Latino pollworkers to switch my "No" vote on Proposition 8 to "Yes" - "in the name of God." If I were voting in San Francisco or Alameda counties, I wouldn't be so worried, but Los Angeles, thanks to conservative immigrants, is NOT San Francisco.

I can fax pretty late - as long as the fax is in by 8PM local time in Los Angeles (that would be 1PM next day in Seoul, as Daylight Saving Time will be over by then), my vote is supposed to count.

So it looks like a crapshoot and will cost me some, but I must vote anyway. After all, this election is just too important for me to sit out. And again, it'll be a shame for 2MB and Moon to have a say in US politics, and for me to have no say.