December 29, 2002 - Washington Post: Lesotho PCVs vote in US Elections

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 12 December 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: December 29, 2002 - Washington Post: Lesotho PCVs vote in US Elections

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 11:53 am: Edit Post

Lesotho PCVs vote in US Elections

Read and comment on this letter to the editor that appeared in the Washington Post on PCV Jim Mueller and his wife who are serving in Lesotho and the process they followed to vote in the recent US elections at:

I Voted -- in South Africa*

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

I Voted -- in South Africa

I am a resident of Waldorf, [but] working and living in southern Africa in the Kingdom of Lesotho. My wife and I have experienced good and less-than-good service from election boards over the years in regards to absentee ballots, and I would like to share my experience with outstanding service from an election board.

We arrived in Lesotho too late to get a change of address for a primary absentee ballot this year and sent a letter to the Charles County Board of Elections requesting airmail service at the earliest opportunity for the general election. As you may know, Peace Corps does not afford volunteers any special mailing options that are available to other United States citizens serving their country overseas, so I was concerned about getting a ballot that could be returned through international mail in time to be counted.

My wife received her ballot and returned it the next day with the usual two-week lead time to get to La Plata in time. Mine was not there. I went daily to the post office until there was less than a week until election time, and I sent an e-mail to the Charles County Board of Elections explaining my problem. I had a prompt reply which reported both of our ballots being mailed at the same date, an offer to FedEx another and advice to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

As a result I contacted the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Maseru, and was told I could have my ballot transported, free of charge, by DHL Worldwide Express, or I could come to the embassy and vote on a generic ballot provided I knew which candidates were running for a particular office. Charles County came through with a ballot on the Internet so I could be prepared for any eventuality.

I phoned the U.S. Embassy and this information was confirmed. I contacted Peace Corps to get permission to travel to Maseru and this was granted. I waited. Then on the Saturday before Election Day I received my absentee ballot. I traveled by kombi-taxi the three hours to Maseru and was admitted to the U.S. Embassy and cast my ballot after being assured it would arrive timely via DHL.

I was able to access the Internet again and sent an e-mail to the Charles County Election Board and thanked them for their accurate advice on a matter (international post) that was out of their hands.

The Charles County Election Board should be applauded for service above and beyond the call of duty.

Jim Mueller


Mohale's Hoek,Lesotho
More on how PCVs vote in US Elections

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Lesotho; Special Interests - Voting



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