So I’ll admit I am a new user, having been waiting patiently for the week to be over so I can post a diary, thinking to myself “What do I have to offer Dailykos?” I’ve been hooked to DK since I left the states to study abroad and it has become a vital lifeline for me. So, finally, I feel like I have a small story that I can share to talk about this election from my current position in the world.
Many people, both in the MSM and on blogs have been talking about how students are engaged in this election like never before and there have been lots of stories to back this up. I merely wish to add my own, hoping that it will provide one more viewpoint to this already well-discussed topic.
My topic: Absentee Ballots, specifically those used by students.
I know a lot of people are talking about voter fraud and how they will be voting mail in, absentee ballot or provisional ballot to make sure their vote is counted. My topic, however, differs from those because it’s not about voting from the states, it’s about voting while abroad, as a student. I am currently living in the UK, and that’s about as specific as I want to get, that has just recently mailed my absentee ballot in. I am an avid follower of politics, so it would not surprise anyone I know to learn this.
However, the mail for the building (full of students) I live in is laid out everyday by the security guard’s desk. And everyday, any where from 2-3 to 5-6 pieces of mail are marked “Official Absentee Balloting Material” and this has been true for the past month. I would not be hesitant to estimate that 75% of my building (of about 200+) has voted or will be voting absentee this year. Considering the effort it takes to get registered, sign up for an absentee ballot, fill it out and mail it all while living in a foreign country where the drinking age is lower, the classes are harder and the internships weird hours, it says something about the surge in youth voting. I wonder in 2000 or 2004 how many of those people studying abroad made sure to get their absentee ballots in? If 75% of students here, far from the daily news cycle of America, far from polling stations, television ads and parents pestering them to vote can be counted on to do their civic duty, the number that will walk to the polls on Nov. 4th, or 4.11.08 to be European about it, will be beyond compare.
To admit, I know that there is a self selection bias here, or at least one could argue that those same people who are living abroad obviously are well prepared or else they would have never gotten abroad in the first place. Obviously people who plan ahead of time would plan to get their vote in ahead of time. And I don’t want to refute that, but I must say, as someone who passed in their application for the program on the last day, and submitted my visa forms only two weeks before my flight, having cast my absentee ballot almost 20 days ahead of time is something to remark on.
Oh I just thought of two issues that I haven’t seen much on dailykos that I want to bring up, and perhaps someone better informed could write a diary on: Proposition 1 and 2 in Massachusetts.
Now I know there are many important props out there, especially Prop 8 in California, and by important I mean devastating. But for those in the lovable Northeast, Prop 1 & 2 might interest you. I honestly don't know much about the ground battle around these since I've been out of the states.
In my own opinion, this is what these will do.
Prop 2: Decriminalizes marijuana. Fines for less than an ounce. No marks on a CORI report.
Link 1 for Prop #2
I might get on a soapbox and give more about these two issues, but I thought it might be important to bring up if anyone actually got to the bottom of this post.