November 17, 2002 - Seattle Post Intelligencer: How Peace Corps Volunteers vote overseas

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 11 November 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: November 17, 2002 - Seattle Post Intelligencer: How Peace Corps Volunteers vote overseas

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, November 17, 2002 - 4:50 pm: Edit Post

How Peace Corps Volunteers vote overseas

Read and comment on this story from the Seattle Post Intelligencer by Romania PCV Paul Johnson on what it takes for a Peace Corps Volunteer to vote overseas at:

P-I Focus: Overseas, it's never too early to start voting*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

P-I Focus: Overseas, it's never too early to start voting


June -- Request the absentee ballot application form from your Peace Corps headquarters in Bucharest.

June (two weeks later) -- Receive the form and send it to your local county voter office in the United States.

August -- Receive your new voter registration card. Your future ballots will now be sent to a Peace Corps person in Washington D.C. and placed in secure State Department mail to Bucharest.

September -- Wait for your primary ballot. The primary is Sept. 17.

Sept. 28 -- Receive your primary ballot 11 days past the election, too late to cast your ballot.

Sept. 29 -- Call Peace Corps headquarters in Bucharest. Request they call you as soon as they receive the next ballot so you can travel to Bucharest that very day and put the ballot in the mail.

October -- Wait.

Nov. 4, 10:30 a.m. -- Call Peace Corps headquarters in Bucharest to ask about your absentee ballot. There will be no ballot there. Ask about how to obtain a federal write-in ballot.

11:50 a.m. -- Walk to microbus station and catch a microbus to Bucharest (60,000 lei). Do not take an umbrella. It won't rain.

2:35 p.m. -- Catch subway to neighborhood of U.S. Embassy. (14,000 lei round trip)

3:10 p.m. -- Search for the U.S. Embassy.

3:35 p.m. -- Walk around the maze of concrete barriers to the embassy guardhouse. Show your passport and ask to speak to U.S. citizen assistance. Guard will tell you she is not at the embassy but is at the U.S. Consular office. Ask directions from another guard. He will not be sure about the correct words for left and right in English. Decide on a set of directions and look for the U.S. Consular office.

3:50 p.m. -- Walk around the maze of concrete barriers to the U.S. Consular guardhouse. Show your passport, surrender your cell phone and submit your bag and person to search. Tell the guard your name and why you are there. Tell the next guard your name and why you are there. The third guard will ask why you are there and will tell you have to come back tomorrow because the U.S. citizen assistance person only sees U.S. citizens from 1:00 to 3:00. You didn't tell the third guard your name. Tell her your name. She will go inside and return to usher you in. Peace Corps headquarters will have advised them of your arrival beforehand. The guard will admonish you to always tell your name and why you are here.

4:00 p.m. -- Get the federal write-in ballot. Write in the name of your favorite candidate for Congress. You can only vote for federal office candidates on this form. OK. One name. Put the ballot inside an envelope, then inside another envelope. You can't mail it by regular mail because it may not arrive in your county within the prescribed 15 days. But you can get a great rate for mailing ballots at United Parcel Service. Ask the U.S. citizen assistance person to point to UPS on your map of Bucharest.

4:15 p.m. -- Walk to UPS.

5:10 p.m. -- Arrive at UPS. (It will be far.)

5:15 p.m. -- Fill out one more envelope. It is guaranteed to arrive by Wednesday. (777,000 lei)

5:30 p.m. -- It will be pouring rain. You left your umbrella at home. Walk to an Irish pub you know in Bucharest and have a real Guinness on draft and a sandwich and rest your feet.

6:10 p.m. -- Catch the subway back to the microbus station. Stop on the platform to listen to a street musician play guitar and pick out a melody on a harmonica. Try to guess the song. It will be a Beatles song from the White Album. "Obla-dee, obla dah, life goes on, La, la, la, la, Life goes on. . ." Smile.

6:45 p.m. -- Catch the microbus to your hometown. (60,000 lei)

9 p.m. -- Arrive at your apartment. Total cost: 911,000 lei (not counting the beer and sandwich) or $27.60.

Hope you took your opportunity to vote.

Paul Johnson is a former Seattle resident now serving in the Peace Corps in Romania.

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