Voting from the global road

Patriotism for sale as ties at The Constitution Center gift shop, Philadelphia, PA
Patriotism for sale as neckties | Photo by Lauren Girardin

“Will you vote absentee? How does that work?” asked Jennie, five months pregnant, sprawled on her couch in the South Philly row house she shares with her husband Amos.

I explained that, even though we haven’t gotten around to canceling our landline phone in San Francisco yet, we are all set to vote absentee by fax. Voting by mail seemed too precarious, with our ballots having to make two perilous overseas journeys. We don’t intend to miss this election, even if we are far away from the U.S. in the deserts of Rajasthan, India.

Our polling place will be any internet cafe with a printer and a fax machine. San Francisco’s Department of Elections talked me through the whole process of registering to vote remotely.

REAL pregnant Jennie at the Mosaic Garden, Philadelphia, PA
REAL pregnant Jennie | Photo by Lauren Girardin

Come October, Lauren and I will simply enter our San Francisco address into a web page to find the sample ballot that matches our district. Once we’ve printed the ballots, we both plan on putting a big check mark against the California gay marriage ban, one in favor of renaming a San Francisco sewage plant after George W. Bush, and one next to Barack Obama‘s name. Then, we’ll fax everything over to the Department of Elections, where a summer intern will transcribe our choices onto a real ballot.

Jennie and Amos, meanwhile, will vote absentee because their son, Jackson, is due just a few days before November 4. While they hope to have an election day baby, they don’t want to risk having Jennie’s water break at the polls.