The Power of the Absentee Ballot
A candid conversation with Former US Ambassador to the Philippines and Zimbabwe, Mr. Harry Thomas
There has never been more of a focus on The United States Absentee Ballot System than there is right now. From American Presidents to military personnel, top executives, celebrities, expats, diplomates, and even US politicians have all enjoyed the luxury of voting from wherever they are in the world.
Couple that with the prestigious global image of the United States Postal Service (USPS), or ‘The Mail’ as it is so affectionately called. USPS, was once the biggest retail business in the world, America’s largest savings bank, and money-transfer agency.
The ‘Letter’s to Santa Claus’ which are a symbol of faith for children all around the globe, and is depicted in most Hollywood Christmas Movies, as well as, in songs, such as “Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes in 1961”.
America is hailed as the prototype of dependable, secure, and efficient mailing which has literally laid the path, and printed the road maps for today’s billionaires behind every mailing, drop-shipping, money remittance, and ‘+shipping and handling’ enterprise around the world; from FedEx and Amazon to Western Union, and today’s GRAB.
USPS Stamps are actual historical monuments, and collector’s items, cherished by collectors all over the world.
Now, amid a global pandemic, The United States stands at a watershed moment, facing a rare opportunity, one in which they can be (or, perhaps continue to be) the ‘Beacon of Democracy’ throughout the world.
As the ‘new innovative normal’ in developing, and perhaps even patenting a more current, paperless, and modern voting system.
Instead, however, the current US administration has decided to double-down on an ancient, expensive, and in many ways, illegal paper ballot, double-ID required, police-monitored election system.
Tactics which; if practiced by any other Democratic, or emerging Democratic country would be investigated by the United Nations, and criticized by America.
Now, with an estimated more than 8.7 Million American Expats around the world (according to AARO); 3 Million of which, are registered to vote (according to FVAP.gov).
Many of which can -and do- vote in nearly every US election. The question is why the voters back home on US soil, cannot receive the same secure, democratic services?
To put it in perspective, in terms of voting power, expat voters are the equivalent to the combined populations of Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Tucson.
The estimated figures, of American expats in 2016 by region, were:
- Africa: 171,000
- East Asia and Pacific: 864,000
- Europe: 1,612,000
- Near East: 870,000
- South Central Asia: 212,000
- Western Hemisphere: 2,591,000
- For a total of 6,320,000
Additionally, that 8.7 Million number of expats, is expected to have doubled since the 2016 Census. The largest spike, being from within the Black American and minority American communities since Trump has taken office.
That being said, we wanted to have a conversation about…
“The Power of The Absentee Ballot”, with someone who I know has had to use it at least a couple of times himself, former US Ambassador to the Philippines, Harry Thomas.
Let’s talk about it…
The Marvelettes “Please, Mr. Postman” (1961)
KHOU 11: Verify | Mail-in ballots vs. Absentee voting ballots
VOX: How voting by mail could save the US election
Federal Voting Assistance Program: US Citizens Abroad
USPS 1948 U.S. POSTAL SERVICE DOCUMENTARY “YOUR POSTAL SERVICE” MONEY ORDERS, STAMPS & MAIL 48064:
AARO 8.7 million American abroad:
America and China are the Philippines’ largest expat communities.