It’s official! I sent in my ballot for the US 2016 Election!
Voting from abroad is not easy, but the US government does what it can to give its citizens abroad options, without risking ballot fraud. I turned in my ballot to the US Consulate of Milan. My other option would be to send it through the post, but I didn’t want to pay the high prices for Italian mail with tracking or risk having them lose it (a likely occurrence). My ballot packet mentioned something about sending your ballot through the US Embassy mail (for free), so I decided to do some digging and figure out what exactly I would have to do.
After searching through the US Embassy Italy website, I found this blog post with this very helpful paragraph. See for yourself on the official website.
You can drop your paper ballot at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and at the Consulates General in Milan, Florence and Naples. If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a postage-paid envelope or envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials.
From what it looked like, all I had to do was show up to the consulate and deposit my ballot.
It’s about a 30 minute trip to get to the consulate using public transportation. Way longer than it would be to get to a polling station in america. Saving 5 euro and having peace of mind was worth it, especially since I pay for the Milan metro system monthly anyways.
I arrive to the consulate, right in front of the metro station, and tried to talk to the Italian police guarding it before finally just showing them my “envelope.” They laughed. It was a pretty janky envelope, not even an envelope as much as a piece of paper taped at the sides. They went inside and gave me an actually envelope, bless their hearts. They were really kind as I wrote in my country clerks address and presented me with the official box to deposit my ballot. And since I didn’t get a sticker, of course I had to get a photo op. If I can make the hour-long round trip (plus time to print, fill out the ballot, read all the instructions 4 times until I’m sure I have it right….), you can make the trip to the polls. Don’t be lazy, get out there early!!