And let me tell you, it's a lot more work from over here than it is stateside. Be proud of me.
The whole process to make sure that we could vote started about three months ago when we realized that I wasn't registered to vote in Alabama at all, even though I'd changed my residency over two years ago. In Alaska, when you get a driver's license, you automatically get registered to vote, so I'd assumed it was the same in Alabama. Not so.
So, we printed off a form to get me registered to vote, put it in an envelope, and waited until someone was going to the States from Istanbul who could drop it in the mail, because of course, in Alabama, everything has to be done via USPS. We waited a few weeks and checked my registration status, and when I was registered to vote we printed off our applications for absentee ballots. We filled them out, put them in separate envelopes (because in Alabama, not only does everything have to be done via USPS, everything also has to have its own, separate envelope), and waited again until someone could take them to the States for us and drop them in the mail.
Then, a few weeks ago, Shannon and I each received emails instructing us as to how to go about placing our votes.
Step 1. Print off your ballot, an affidavit, another piece of paper with "postage paid" printed on it, and another two pages which comprise the two sides of a "security envelope."
A four-page ballot, complete with bubbles to fill in, completely, with either black ink or #2 pencil.
Step 2. Assemble envelopes. Cut on sketchy lines, place blank sides of paper on inside, and tape three of the four sides of the envelopes closed. Do this with the "security envelopes" and with the affidavit and "mailing label" side of the larger "envelope."
Place your filled-out ballot in here.
Step 3. Find two over-18-year-olds to witness you vote. Fill out the affidavit yourself. Have your two witnesses sign the affidavit. Fold your ballot twice, place inside the "security envelope," and close it with more tape. Then place the security envelope inside the larger envelope which has the now-signed affidavit on one side and the address on the other side. Seal with more tape.
And then put your security envelope in here.
Step 5. Hand off to yet another person who is going to the States, along with 2 lira for postage. Because you'd rather pay your own postage and mail something in a real envelope than get free postage and mail your absentee ballot in an envelope you constructed yourself with scotch tape and printer paper, which has half the information needed to steal your identity printed on the outside of it.
Step 6. Sigh a big sigh of relief that you don't have to do this again for four more years. And pray that Alabama figures out a better way for their overseas citizens to vote absentee (i.e. online or through fax). Because this is enough to make someone not take advantage of their right to vote.