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Absentee balloting

A story by Elena Hiatt Houlihan



Absentee Voting in Argentina I am one of the thousands of Americans who applied for but did not receive an absentee ballot. Yes, it was sent, assures my Board of Elections in Pittsburgh. But who knows where it is? What do you do if you are a loyal voter in Beijing or Buenos Aires and your ballot is lost in transit if not in translation? Fortunately a system exists online to make voting possible. Now, wanderer that I am, I did not know this, but the Democrats Abroad, an international organization with a branch in Buenos Aires, headed by Yankee Mike, and the Ex-Pat Connection group have not only set up debate watching parties at a local café, but also informed Americans about these voting procedures. On October 2, I was stunned to see hundreds of boisterous U.S. citizens crowded into the Sacramento café on El Salvador Street for the Biden-Palin debate. Afterwards, several were interviewed by the Argentinian station, C5N. So now, it's the eve of the final Presidential Debate between McCain and Obama, but for many of us, the voting is over. The American Embassy in Argentina hosted a voting party on October 8, complete with red, white and blue balloons, refreshments, and a speech by the ambassador. The lines stretched around the block. Americans who had lived in BsAs for years working for corporations, students, first time voters, from Pepperdine, here for a semester, retirees from New York or Chicago stretching their pension dollars, all patiently endured temporary confusion, filled out forms, drank Starbucks coffee, and put their ballot in the blue box. From there, the ballots would be sent by diplomatic pouch to various precincts in the USA. And the correct destinations were assured by a table of volunteers who looked up every single address no matter the state, and hand wrote it on the required exterior envelope. The event and the embassy were carefully supervised by numerous staff and guards, and originally cell phones and cameras were held in airport type baskets until after the voting. But by the time I arrived, they had run out of storage and just scanned the rest of us. And now that I know the ballots have been mailed, I can admit to taking several surreptitious photos. It was a very moving event and I wanted a record. And, at the end of the day, my new friend, Marta McLoughlin, born in Argentina but now a citizen of both countries, was interviewed by CNN.

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 Americans,Argentina,ballots,Buenos Aires,democrats-abroad,election,presidential-debate,vote
  Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jun 15 2024


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