Close presidential election has Americans abroad eager to vote absentee

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by Angela Kocherga /11 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @AKochergaBorder

kvue.com

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 4:53 PM

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico—The cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende may seem far from the campaign trail, but hundreds of Americans who call the colonial town home are eager to exercise their right to vote in the close presidential election.

"I don’t understand why there are so many people who have not decided" said Lisa Fullerton, a San Miguel de Allende resident. "They’re not paying attention or they can’t think for themselves."

She’s among thousands of Americans living in Mexico who will vote abroad this election. Nobody knows the exact number. By most estimates, Mexico is home to at least a million Americans, the largest population of U.S. citizens living in a foreign country.

By law, registered voters outside the U.S. including troops deployed overseas can request absentee ballots from their home states. Some states allow voters to download the ballot online, but others only offer it by fax or regular mail.

The non-profit, non-partisan Overseas Vote Foundation urges Americans to ensure their votes count. The foundation, in partnership with FedEx, launched the "Express Your Vote" program, which offers international delivery of absentee ballots at discounted rates through October 31.

"Every vote counts," said Dan Sche,r who owns Casa Puesta del Sol, a bed and breakfast perched on a hill with a view of the well-known pink Gothic style church.

"We call this Republican Row the top of this street," said Scher, who will vote to re-elect president Obama.

A fellow San Miguel resident, Larry Brewer, who plans to cast a ballot for Mitt Romney says he’s outnumbered.

"The expatriates here are more artistically inclined and that kind of breeds more liberalism," said Brewer.

He’s so determined to vote, he’s flying to his home state Texas to cast a ballot in the Dallas-area, because he did not trust the online system.

Several states failed to meet the deadline for sending out absentee ballots to voters abroad. Americans who did not get their ballot in time can use the emergency federal write in ballot available online.

But some are not taking chances, said Scher. "A lot of these people are going back to the states to vote."

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