As the national election approaches and it becomes clear that Keith may not be able to physically go to the polls himself, we went to the web once again in search of a way to ensure he gets to vote. I entered the search term "absentee ballot travis county texas" and was directed to http://www.co.travis.tx.us/county_clerk/election/pdfs/fpca.pdf. On the form, there are only 3 acceptable reasons for an absentee vote:
- A member of the uniformed services or merchant marine on active duty, or an eligible spouse or dependent;
- A U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S. temporarily; or
- A U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S. indefinitely.
Keith is none of these unless you want to get philosophical and claim that he's 'outside the U.S. mainstream temporarily. (I picture the elections folks in the government stating "we are not amused" in unision, lol).
I then went to the Travis County website and after sorting through several pages discovered that he doesn't need an absentee ballot at all. He needs an "Application for Ballot by Mail" which must be submitted by mail (duh!) not earlier than the 60th day before the election and not later than the 7th day before the election. You have four categories on this one:
- 65 years of age or older
- Confinement in jail (!)
- Expected absence from the county
So, happily, Keith will get to vote. However I wonder about all the folks unexpectedly residing outside their normal life who will not get to vote. Are hospitals aware of the procedure? Do they have copies of the application for patients to use? I don't know how many people even care about this issue, but to have even one vote cancelled simply because of access to the correct paperwork is reason enough to formalize a process guaranteeing the right to vote.