Midterm Mishap

Midterm Mishap

I’ve spent a month trying to vote. 

Yeah I said a month but let it be known I’ve had my ballot since early September. I probably received it the same week I realized I got zero confirmation that my returned primary ballot was counted. Realizing that I probably didn’t contribute anything thanks to either Germany's petty mailing system or America’s assault on voting rights. Still till this day I have no receipt of anything but that’s the chance you take becoming an expatriate. 

I have enjoyed voting from abroad for five years. Democrats Abroad found me faster than the IRS and solicited me with unwanted voter registration cards and political propaganda. It was fairly easy to register my new abode with them and get my old stomping grounds ballots sent via email. All I had to do was make sure to follow all the instructions and mail it back to the US in time. Well no one told me how difficult and expensive it was to mail a ballot from overseas. I thought voting was free? I never expected to have to pay a carrier for not only a stamp but an international mailing status, special envelopes and an expedited return. I found this out after election season because then I sent Christmas cards. Those cards sent in early December arrived between January and March the following year. (It’s the thought that counts)

I’ve figured it out. I voted in a small town. I’ve voted in a big city. I even had a few address changes back home and was able to still vote. Now I live in a village pretending to be city. So getting what I need to mail what I need isn’t as easy. Yes, I have the Deutsche Post app which was very effective last year for mailing my Christmas cards in time. There are the local service points aka kiosks but here they are sort of a catch all ran by a stationary company. In them you can get greeting cards, bus vouchers, candles, lottery tickets, ink pens and candy. So I really don’t want to disturb the bazaar keeper for my international mailing needs. But this time I was so irritated with the entire process of it all I chose to do the worst thing ever … fax my ballot.

I honestly said I wouldn’t vote. 

Why? Because Florida is like a wasted vote. DeSatan is running against a Republican turned Democrat. That fucking guy did a lot of harm during his reign of terror similar to DeSatan. I just knew in the primaries we would find another viable option instead of the two evils. Boy were the chances of anything changing slim. But none the less I prepared my primary ballot and went to that shithole called a post office and requested an international stamp to mail it. Where it went I don’t know and half the people and things I voted for are now not an option on this November ballot. I feel cheated. Like I did all the right things and didn’t get anything. I got no confirmation. I contributed nothing without that. The two evils are now it. So you think I’ll try that shit again. Nope!

My state offers a fax and email option but it’s tricky. If you live there you can email. If you live abroad you can only mail it or fax it. Don’t have a fax machine no worries. You can contact Democrats Abroad via their +1 and not toll free numbers to assist you. I assume they will function like Google and tell you where you can fax things in your area. I highly doubt they will function as a third party to get your ballot faxed. And what about Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and Christmas Tree voters? No assistance for them? No, I saved that expensive call for help and chose to go find faxing services in my area on my own. Should be easy right? Since I live in a word of analog and eight digit phone numbers, it should haven been a cakewalk.

Fuck me I have never went so many places far and wide to send a fax!

First, I went to Mail Boxes Etc. formerly known as Mail Boxes and More. This is a place as a content creator I have longed to find out more about. It’s an American company, with an English website and a plethora of services for e-commerce and shipping. To find such a national treasure in this shithole town it would be the final answer to my brand going ham. I could make stickers, mailers, have a PO BOX etc. I was excited to see them in our lil downtown area when were looking for housing. But then after we moved so did they to boonies and outskirts of town. Only accessible by car or a very sporadic bus route. Everytime we drove by that place it looked closed and or dark. However, Google and their website confirmed they were open and offering faxing. It took me damn near 30 minutes to get over there. The temperature dropped during my journey. I walked a block from the bus stop to enter this place and it was nothing like in America. This place used to be an epicenter full of life and people doing all their important things. This was the basement office without a stapler ran by a German guy who was older than dirt and functioning like a kiosk. I couldn't believe it. All that effort just to wind up in a cesspool of packages on display. Long story short, his fax machine wasn't functioning. He attempted twice and gave up. The audible tone suggested that my call was not able to go through aka we don't send faxes internationally. He apologized and suggested I try an email to fax program. Ugh.

The next few days I planned another strategy. I would return to our bonefide kiosk ... the schreibwaren bazaar. On their window it mentions all the services they provide including Korperin and Faxen. So I went there and waited in line to be told they no longer do faxing. Since they have a monopoly on the city ahem village we drove past Mail Boxes Etc. to visit another location where I waited for a man to get about thirty lottery tickets only to be told they no longer do faxing either. It was around 12pm on a Saturday at this point and while I know I could have just waited until Monday that seemed as futile as mailing it. I figured let me go to real post office which I have now confused with a PostBank. (I have seen both in the same location before - bite me) Upon driving there I could see the PostBank sitting shut on a street nowhere near the post office. Trying to describe where the actual post office was in this Harry Potter town with someone who has a really hard time both understanding me and finding parking for his SUV I wound up dropped off and had to walk. I had already been convinced to leave my coat at home because it was "frische" outside so I braved a cold walk there only to find it was closed. On the door there was a note stating that a nearby kiosk was available for all needs and sorry for the inconvenience. Yes, a fucking post office just randomly closed all day for no reason during their opening hours and is asking people who need those services to head on over to the shithole with no services. 

The last resort was the local grocery store, an unassuming Combi with a corner in the front ends dedicated to services. There I waited at the glass window while watching a ponytailed blonde gleefully typing with her back turned completely away from helping anyone. I slammed my purse on the counter. I ran my fingers over all the crap sitting there. The only thing that made her turn around is a woman coming to queue behind me with what seemed like a set of keys to multiple dimensions. Then she turned around as though we were not visible in her monitor for five fucking minutes and offered her help. I asked if they had a fax. She bubbly replied "Ja!" but just sat there twisted towards us in the chair. I then said okay well I would like the fax service and she said "Oh No!". So then I was like is the fax only for you and she was like "Ja für uns!" with a smirk. I found my husband and explained the exchange and he just snickered. Later that same lady got his frikadelle out of the heiße theke. I cannot make this shit up. I guess I was using an app after all.

Surely, I could have just had someone dot this ballot back home and drop it on my behalf but that wouldn't make sense if my passport was over here right? Now if I emailed it to fax could that lead to some technical violation of the no emails when abroad? The apps were questionable. All in-app subscription services that couldn't guarantee anything. I said fuck it, we scanned my ballot and used an app named FAX. Also an app whose prices vary from $6.99 a week to like $59.99 a month. I could use it for three days for free as long as I cancelled in time but I figured leave it for the week to feel good about not having to pay another entity 5,99€ per sheet. I did send the same four pages three times - user error. But I got confirmation for the last four pages only via the app. Again, zero confirmation from my states elections officials. I digress. I could have saved my bus tickets, gas money, printer ink and electricity because Florida (in real time) just reelected DeSatan and Mubio Rarco anyways.

I should have known better.