The American Way of… Voting

Though the American presidential candidates party pretty hard with all their commercials, their confetti and fireworks, they have one problem, German politicians familiar with: The number of people who vote is getting smaller and smaller. In this case, not even because Americans are too lazy or disagree with the parties’ ideas. Very often, the American college students don’t use their right to vote.

A lot of American college students move out of town, often even out of state to go to college. A lot of them would like to vote, but obviously it’s too complicated to vote absentee in the U.S., as Sam Oliker-Friedland describes in this blog. When he looked for a website to find help how to vote absentee, he only found out, that there didn’t exist one. When he told his friends about this, the idea of putting one up was born. www.govoteabsentee.org provides the forms and instructions on how to fill them out and get you through it step by step.
To me, creating this homepage shows how much the interest on political issue grew – even for young people.

And this is how it works:
Let’s say you enter the zipcode for “Craig County” , VA. This is was will appear:

After that, you can download a form. In this case, I was pretty suprised, because you could choose different reasons, why you cannot attend on Election Day, for example some of those:

To be honest, I’m wondering, if it’s Uncle Sam’s business, why you choose to vote absentee. But Michelle Smith, one of the founder of this website told me, that there are actually a lot of states, which don’t care about reasons “Anyone and everyone can vote absentee in those states, whether they have a good reason or not”.

Unfortunatly, I’m not sure, if this help to vote will be chosen very often. Kate Mullin, University of Virginia student, was thrilled, but also emailed: “I just mentioned this website to people in my office and they think it sounds great. They can’t believe that someone in Germany knows how to vote absentee in the U.S. when a lot of Americans don’t.”

Brandon Underwood, student at Roanoke College, agreed and said, it’d be great if they promoted this website on campus.

I guess, the question is not only who the people vote for, but also who votes in the first place.

I really like the fact, that college students worked this out and care so much about voting and about other students to vote. Thumb up! Let’s help them to spread the word!

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