Not An Absolutely Absent Voter In Costa Rica

Mavis Britwum is a student at The College of New Jersey and an ISA Featured Blogger. Mavis is currently studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica on a Fall 4 program.

November 1st 2012:
Oh, the elections are coming up, I should probably check to make sure my absentee ballot request went through . . .

November 2nd 2012:
Oh I don’t think I filled the request out right, hence the reason why I haven’t received it. I can do it tomorrow . . .

November 4th 2012:
I can do it tomorrow . . .

November 5th 2012, 3:20 p.m
Tomorrow’s the election!

I scrambled to fill out the absentee ballot request forms, a process I was sure I had done before coming to Costa Rica. Clearly, I’m not a slacker. I just didn’t know the request had not gone through. And luckily for me, my home state New Jersey allows its citizens to send in their absentee votes via email, fax, or air mail.

Despite my “last minute” scrambling, I was determined to get my vote in because I knew this would be a very important election.  Even the old folks here who don’t even understand “hello” or “bye” in English say “Obama” with a wink when they asked me about the elections. It’s something to note how American politics are publicized around the world because people here in Costa Rica were following along with the elections like it were their own, or were at least interested. Many bars had their televisions set to CNN for the night as American students and locals gathered together to watch the elections. We created another layer to the social atmosphere because although we were engaging in something that you would think would isolate us from Costa Rica, we managed to hang out with Costa Ricans and share the experience together.

Nonetheless, I mostly relied on our generation’s most important virtual global community, Facebook, to keep updated with the events occurring on the local and national levels. So even though I was not home in the States, I was still connected.

November 6th 2012, 3:20 p.m.

The voting process was easier than I thought it would be and I was proud to be able to still have a voice from far away. Although I missed twenty minutes of class again, I was able to send my vote! Additionally, it was my first time voting!

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