Absentee Voting Request 2018

2018 is an off-year election season for the US. Tracy and I previously exercised our right and duty as US citizens to vote, and have continued to vote while living abroad as expats. Our home state of Nevada makes the overseas voting process easy.

As in previous elections while we were residents in France, we simply go to the county registrar of voters’ website, in our case the Washoe County (Nevada) Registrar of Voters, to download a simple, one-page form to complete and return by mail with our signatures.

We have the option to request to vote in the primary, general, or all elections in 2018. If we were over the age of 65, we would also have the option to make our request for absentee voting status permanent.

Absentee ballots from Washoe County are mailed to overseas voters like us (and military service members, spouses, and their dependents) 45 days before all elections.

The Washoe County Registrar of Voters stresses that:

THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR AN ABSENT BALLOT IS THE TUESDAY PRIOR TO ANY ELECTION, AT 5 pm.

WE STRONGLY URGE YOU TO SEND IN YOUR REQUEST AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  

REMEMBER, YOUR VOTED BALLOT MUST BE IN OUR OFFICE BY 7 pm ON ELECTION DAY IN ORDER FOR YOUR BALLOT TO BE COUNTED.

So far, voting absentee with the Washoe County Registrar of Voters Office has been easy and has worked flawlessly for us. But there are other options for oversea voters from other jurisdictions. There are currently over 8 million Americans living abroad of voting age.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program helps overseas US citizens, US military service members, and service members’ families to vote.

Many state Secretary of State offices will assist overseas voters. Nevada’s Secretary of State has the EASE program, Effective Abesentee to System for Elections, a totally online application and voting process that allows electronic voting for oversea Nevadans, Nevada military service members, and their families for elections that include a federal office race.

Federal law, the Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986, ensures ours, the rights of other US expats, US government workers abroad to vote from oversea in federal elections. The law covers:

-Members of the seven US Uniformed Services

-Members of the US Merchant Marine

-Eligible family members of the above

-US citizens employed by the federal government residing outside the US.

-Other private US citizens residing outside the United States.

Our home state of Nevada also protects our right as US citizens to exercise our franchise to vote as expats living abroad.

Nevada Revised Statutes 293D.210 Eligibility of overseas voter to be covered voter.

An overseas voter is eligible to be a covered voter if:

1.  Before leaving the United States, the overseas voter was eligible to vote in this State and, except for the residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this State’s voter eligibility requirements;

2.  Before leaving the United States, the overseas voter would have been eligible to vote in this State had the overseas voter then been of voting age and, except for the residency requirement, otherwise satisfies this State’s voter eligibility requirements; or

3.  Was born outside the United States and, except for the residency requirement, otherwise satisfies the voter eligibility requirements set forth in NRS 293.485, so long as:

(a) The last place where a parent or legal guardian of the overseas voter was, or under this chapter would have been, eligible to vote before leaving the United States is within this State; and

(b) The overseas voter is not registered to vote in any other state.

So Tracy and I will again be exercising our right, privilege, and responsibility to vote in 2018. Now we are just hoping for some highly qualified candidates.

 

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RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (PART III)

Passport Card package from Marseille Consulate

The final document of my passport renewal came today.

My new passport card arrived by Chronopost after I received an e-mail yesterday from the US Consulate in Marseille advising me that the passport card was en route. It took only three weeks for my new passport booklet to arrive and ten weeks for my passport card. I need to compliment the Marseille Consulate again for its spectacular service.  I had incorrectly assumed that with living oversea there would be extensive delays to a passport renewal.

Passport Card package from Marseille Consulate
Passport Card package from Marseille Consulate

I now have my complete set (passport booklet and passport card) of United States travel documents, ready for use until their expiration in 2026.  My passport card will also double as an approved REAL ID document for future domestic US air travel and to enter high security US government offices without having to always carry my passport booklet. In all, it was a much easier process to renew my passport while living oversea than I anticipated.

Alan's Passport Card
Alan’s Passport Card

Related Posts:

RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (Part I)

RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (PART II)

 

Validating Etta’s Student Visa With OFII (Part 2)

Etta's OFII Letter

After a quick six day turn-around from OFII (L’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration – the French Office of Immigration and Integration) in Montpellier, we received a response to Etta’s Demande d’Attestation letter that we previous mailed to OFII advising that our niece Etta has arrived in France. (Validating Etta’s Student Visa With OFII [Part 1])

Etta's OFII Letter
Etta’s OFII Letter

The very rough translation of the letter from OFII is:

SUBJECT: Dossier VLS-TS, reference “Mineur Scolarise“visa.
On 30/01/2017, your Demande d’Attestation letter arrived, but the visa affix on passport is not VLS-TS but a “Mineur Scolarise“.
As such, you are not subject to the VLS-TS (adult long-stay visa) rules, are exempt from the residence card process, and are authorized to travel outside France within the Schengen Area.
On your 18th birthday, in order to continue your studies, you will have to formally request a residence card from the Prefecture having jurisdiction of your residence.
At that time, re-submit your Demande d’Attestation file to the Prefecture so that an appointment for the compulsory medical visit can be scheduled and you can be processed for your adult residence permit.
Please accept my best regards.
So, 17 year old Etta does not have to be concerned about re-sending her Demande d’Attestation until her 18th birthday in October 2017.  We will share Etta’s efforts for obtaining an adult long-stay student visa this coming October. Etta’s Demande d’Attestation form and its supporting documents are now waiting for October in our files for safekeeping.
In the mean time, Etta is now free to study and travel in Europe and doesn’t have to be concerned about any further paperwork with OFII until her milestone adult birthday.
Etta on the breakwater in Collioure, France
Etta on the breakwater in Collioure, France

Validating Etta’s Student Visa With OFII (Part 1)

"Demande d’Attestation OFII" form and supporting documents ready to be mailed

Our niece, Etta, and her parents completed her application for her long stay Mineur Scolarise (student under 18 years old) visa with the Consulate General of France in San Francisco. They completed the application process that required completing the application form, obtaining travel insurance, showing proof of financial responsibility, obtaining Etta’s record of immunizations, getting her student transcript, and paying the fees. Tracy and I provided proof of our lawful residency in France to serve as Etta’s “host family,” which is perfect since we are actual family.

Once approved the Consulate affixed a visa to Etta’s passport granting permission for 11 months of residency for studies in France.

Etta's Student Visa with numbers obscured.
Etta’s Student Visa with numbers obscured.

Etta’s visa allowed her to enter and spend up to five days in transit through the Schengen Area to reach France. In Etta’s case she, her mom, and Tracy entered Europe at Copenhagen, then took a flight to Barcelona with an overnight stop, then finally arrived by bus to Argelès-sur-Mer in France over two days travel.

Once in France Etta is required to contact OFII (L’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration – the French Office of Immigration and Integration) to validate her visa with an interview, medical exam, and the addition of a Vignette sticker in her passport to serve as her Carte de Séjour (residency permit.)

The
The “Vignette” sticker that takes the place of a Carte de Sejour for the first year of residency.

Tracy and I are familiar with this process because we completed our OFII medical exams and Vignette validation in May 2013 (OFII Medical Exam and Titre de Séjour) when OFII attempted to make Tracy an Australian . . .  but that is a whole different story.

Along with her visa, the consulate gave Etta and her parents a notification form, a Demande d’Attestation OFII, that she is required to complete and mail to the regional OFII office having jurisdiction over Etta’s new residence after her arrival in France. This form includes a bar code that connects to Etta’s account set up when she received her temporary visa. Small snag: the form was safely in a file folder in Reno. But the simple fix was when Etta’s mom returned back to the US, she would scan and e-mail the form to use.  The miracle of modern communication technology.

The e-mail arrived with the Demande d’Attestation OFII with English language direction to mail the completed form to the OFII office in Montpellier along with photocopies of Etta’s information page from her passport, her visa, and her entry stamp. All completed the form was off in the mail and we should receive a letter back from OFII with an appointment date to go visit Montpellier within 90 days.

“Demande d’Attestation OFII” form and supporting documents ready to be mailed

RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (Part II)

Some passport photo over about 40 years.

I am no longer “The Man Without a Country,” or at least I am no longer the man without a passport. My new passport arrived and I can again prove my home country.

alanpassport2017blurred
“Blurred” Passport

Three weeks to the day after mailing my passport renewal application (including my previous passport) to the US Consulate in Marseille, my new passport booklet arrived along with my cancelled previous passport. That was an impressively fast turn-around considering  the Christmas and New Years Day holidays were in the middle of the renewal processing. The US State Department’s web site advises that passport renewals generally take four to six weeks to process, although they proudly (and justly in my case) say they can frequently provide faster returns. I have to complement the Marseille Consulate for great service!

chronopost-package
Chronopost Package from US Consulate-Marseille

I was hoping to receive the upgraded, redesigned 2017 passport with its new polycarbonate page that is meant to protect the embedded and newly machine-readable information chip. I have a tendency to clumsily damage things, especially items I frequently carry. The current US passport’s RFID chip is somewhat fragile and subject to mechanical and water damage.  And, of course,  I just wanted to be one of the first with the “latest thing.” The new-style passports were originally scheduled to be released in July 2016, but apparently either the redesigned format isn’t ready yet or the State Department is exhausting the last of their 2007-2016 edition passport blanks. The new-style passports are now scheduled to be issued the end of 2017 or early 2018.

But staying with the current passport design allowed me to request the free expanded version with 52 pages (43 for visas) in place of the standard 28 (17 for visas.) Normally it takes an overseas news correspondent to fill an extended passport, but it’s a big world and I’m very motivated to see as much of it as I can until this passport expires in 2026.

Starting in 2016, the US joined the rest of the world with no longer issuing additional pages to its passports and the upcoming 2017 passports will be limited to 28 pages. When a passport is now full of stamps and visas, the holder has to get it replaced. Too few passport pages can rapidly become a problem with frequent travelers because many immigration officers stamp passports on random pages and with the least economical use of space. Some countries require two to six blank pages, often requiring adjacent blank pages, be available in a passport for affixing their visas. Sometimes entry stamp are required to be stamped on the page opposite the visa. (Tracy needed to request an immigration officer re-stamp her entry in her passport on the appropriate page opposite her French visa.)

I am anxious to see the redesign of the new-style 2017 passport with its all-new internal artwork that will feature “intricate engravings and inks” using microprinting, color-shifting inks, and ultraviolet watermarks meant to deter counterfeiting. Perhaps Tracy will receive one of these updated passports when she renews for 2019. (Tracy, the retired graphic artist, is a big fan of the striking Norwegian passport‘s design.)

“Remember when it was the rare American who had a passport? In 2013, 117.4 million Americans had passports; in 1989, that number was 7.3 million”

As expected, my renewed passport card was not included in the package. The card takes longer to manufacture than the traditional booklet and should arrive in a few more weeks.  While the passport card is NOT valid for European travel, I wanted it as a supporting US citizenship document. I also lack a REAL ID Act “gold star” approved US drivers license because I last renewed my drivers license by mail while living overseas. The REAL ID Act’s final deadline for full enforcement is still a “moving target”with frequent extensions. A passport card is an approved REAL ID document for future domestic US air travel without having to carry my passport booklet.

Some passport photo over about 40 years.
Some passport photos through the years.

So now with a valid passport in my hands, I am no longer “running barefoot” through Europe without US travel credentials. While I don’t actually carry my passport on a daily basis while living abroad, just having my passport in my possession grants me peace of mind and my ability to travel internationally again.

I also have the challenge of a brand new passport with lots of blank pages to start filling up.

Related Post:  RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (Part I)

RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (PART III)

Renewing A US Passport While Living In France (Part I)

Living abroad often require anticipation of “all the moving pieces” necessary to comply with the proper process of maintaining our residency in France. Tracy and I need to annually renew our Carte de Séjour (residency permits) in March, so in January I start collecting all the documents needed so I’ll have everything together for our renewal application in plenty of time.

Among those documents we provide are our valid US passports, however mine expires in February 2018. While that sounds like I have lots of time renew my passport during 2017, in order to renew our upcoming Carte de Séjour for April 2017 to March 2018, my passport needs to be valid at least three months past the expiration date of the 2017-2018 Carte de Séjour. I’m four months short of that requirement.

So in December 2016, I am renewing my passport. Back to that “all the moving pieces” concept, it normally takes four to six weeks to process a passport request . . .  plus there is the added complications of renewing a passport from overseas . . . plus the further complications of consulate and passport offices being closed or short-staffed over the Christmas and New Years holidays.

Nothing is ever as easy as you first think it is.

US Passport
US Passport

So this is my renewal process and how we worked through the complications:

First off, if you live outside the US or Canada, you CANNOT just mail your passport renewal application back to the US.  The application must be submitted through the US Embassy or an US Consulate that provides passport services in the country that you are a resident. With living in France my current options for passport services is the Embassy in Paris or the Consulates in Strasbourg or Marseille. Since Tracy and I live in the south of France, my renewal application package is heading to beautiful Marseille.

Next complication: photo drama. Effective November 1,  2016, passport photos cannot included eyeglasses, so the extra photos I had previously taken cannot be used. Although there are “ID photo” machines on practically every corner (France requires photos with almost every government application), those French photo machine photos are not acceptable for US passports. To help with these problem, the Consulate provides a list of photographers that can take approved passport photos (the nearest to us is in Perpignan) and the US State Department provides a digital photo template tool online.  Tracy, the former graphic artist, took my photo, edited it, and printed an acceptable set of photos. (U.S. standard passport photograph requirements for biometric passports)

US State Department's Online Passport photo template tool
US State Department’s Online Passport photo template tool

The next complication up: payment drama.  It’s an US passport so just send an US check or an US credit card authorization, right? Nope, not accepted. A Mandat Cash (money order) from the Banque Postale (French Post Office) or a chèques certifiés (certified check) from a French bank? Nope, not accepted. The only payment option: “Mail-in consular service customers in Marseille must pay by French bank check (chèque de banque payable en France) made to the order of:  U.S. Embassy.”

A chèque de banque is kind of a big deal. It’s like a “super certified check” drawn directly on and payable by a French bank (not a private account holder) with the payment guaranteed for a year and eight days. Getting the chèque de banque required a visit to my BNP bank branch (our French bank) to make a request using my marginal French (still very much Franglais.)  I was told a chèque de banque request normally takes three days to process. The bank started the process, but I was asked to please return to the bank the next day because the directeur (bank manager) was not there to sign the request. Apparently a chèque de banque request requires the most senior bank officer’s signature. I returned to BNP for a second visit and the chèque de banque request was waiting at reception area for me to add my signature next to the directeur’s. Two days later, the check arrived in the mail.

Chèque de Banque
Chèque de Banque

Since I was not picking up the new passport personally from the consulate in Marseille, I was required to include two prepaid, self-addressed Chronopost envelopes (similar to FedEx Overnight.) A quick trip to the post office and I had the envelopes, cost was surprisingly steep at a total of €52.

I needed to send two envelopes since I was requesting both a new passport booklet and a passport card. A new passport card takes weeks longer to manufacture than a passport booklet. The consulate offers the option to wait and send both the booklet and card together or to send the items separately as they arrive. I wanted to have a passport back in my hands as soon as possible, so I opted for sending two envelopes.

Chronopost Envelop
Chronopost Envelop

I used the US State Department’s online form wizard to print out a completed adult passport renewal application form (DS-82.) The Marseille Consulate warns that a handwritten form could delay processing the renewal request.

My final application package included:

  1. A completed adult passport renewal form, signed and dated, requesting a passport booklet with the extended 52 pages and a passport card.
  2. My current passport booklet and passport card with photocopies of the biographical page for the passport booklet and biographical data on the passport card.
  3. Two recent photos on a white background meeting US passport standards. (One photo for the passport booklet and one for the passport card.) The Marseille Consulate made a point of saying NOT to staple or paperclip the photo to my application.
  4.  My payment of €134 by chèque de banque, (The cost for the passbook booklet was €105 and the passport card was €29.)
  5.  Two prepaid, self-addressed Chronopost envelopes for the return of passports.
Passport Renewal Package
Passport Renewal Package

The application package was mailed as a lettre recommandée (registered mail, €5.93) to:

U.S. Consulate General
ACS/Passport Unit
Place Varian Fry
Marseille 13286 Cedex 06

So now I wait for the passport renewal request to be processed knowing the Marseille Consulate will be closed for the Christmas holiday from December 21 through December 28 and there will be New Years and Martin Luther King holidays coming soon too. Not the best time of the year to be requesting a passport renewal.

On top of heavy seasonal mail and work holidays, US State Department’s “Officials are expecting a flood of renewals of 10-year passports issued in 2006 and 2007. The latter was the year when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, for the first time requiring passports for Americans returning by air from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda.”

I have a somewhat uncomfortable feeling with having NO passport in my possession for a month or more while still living overseas. Granted, I have my French Carte de Séjour as an official identification document, a photocopy of my US passport, and I live within the Schengen Area where I don’t frequently have to show a passport, but I feel rather “naked” without my US Passport. In an emergency I would be hard pressed for international travel.

I’m hoping for a quick turnaround of my new passport. I’ll let you know how long it takes.

Related post:  RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (PART II)

RENEWING A US PASSPORT WHILE LIVING IN FRANCE (PART III)

“What Bureaucracy?” Third Renewal of Our Residency Permits (Cartes de Séjour) Part 2

Our self-addressed envelopes from the Préfecture des PyrénéesOrientales in Perpignan arrived notifying us that our new Cartes de Séjour (Residency Permits) were ready for pickup.  The letter advised us that our 2016-2017 Cartes de Séjour can be picked at the Préfecture on Monday afternoon or Wednesday or Friday mornings. We are required to bring our old Cartes de Séjour and €106 each in timber fiscaux (tax stamps.) It took just over two weeks from the day we dropped off our renewal application to receiving the “ready to pick up” letter.

Notification Letter from the Prefecture that Carte de Sejour can be picked up.
Notification Letter from the Prefecture that Carte de Sejour can be picked up.

The following Monday we took the €1 Bus to Perpignan and spent the morning shopping, having lunch, enjoying an obligatory coffee in Place de la République, and wandering around the historic town center before the Préfecture’s étranger bureau (immigrant office) opened at 1:30.  We stopped by reception and were issued numbers and there were 14 people ahead of us.

"Take a number"
“Take a number”

Despite there being only one window open, the electronic display counted down quickly.  Most people only required one or two minutes to complete their transaction.  Most seemed to be doing exactly what we were doing, picking up a new Carte de Séjour. The waiting room looked like every other large doctor’s office/ DMV waiting room we have ever spent time in with individuals, couples, and families sitting, talking, and straightening out their documents in folders.

Renewal Documents
Renewal Documents

For this visit we were only required to bring our Cartes de Séjour and tax stamps for payment with our Passports for identification.  But we brought our entire renewal dossier, “just in case.” We were called up for our turns in less than a 30 minute wait and it literally took less than one minute each for the immigration officer to issue our new Cartes de Séjour for 2016-2017. We’ve spent far more time waiting in DMV lines back in the US. As often as we have been warned about French bureaucracy and “red tape” in France, we have pleasantly been surprised how straight-forward and helpful government representatives have been. Perhaps it is a much different story in large Préfectures  in major cities like Paris, Marseille, or Lyon, but in the Préfecture des PyrénéesOrientales and the Préfecture de l’Aude in the Languedoc-Roussillon region we have always been well treated.

This year’s renewal process now complete, Tracy and I are legal residents of France for another year.

Carte de Séjour 2016-2017
Carte de Séjour 2016-2017

 

Related posts: First Renewal of Our Residency Permit (Titre de SéjourCartes de Séjour Arrived To Help Celebrate Our First Year In France,  Second Renewal of Our Residency Permits (Cartes de Séjour) Part 1, and Second Renewal of Our Residency Permits (Cartes de Séjour) Part 2Parfait!  Third Renewal of Our Residency Permits (Cartes de Séjour) Part 1

Parfait! Third Renewal of Our Residency Permits (Cartes de Séjour) Part 1

Our third effort at renewing our Cartes de Séjour (residency permits) was exceptionally easy. We seem to understand the renewal process well now and are experienced with the requirements at the Bureau des étrangers (immigration office) at the Préfecture des PyrénéesOrientales in Perpignan.  It also help that we started preparing in January although the permits do not expire until the end of March.

The Préfecture des PyrénéesOrientales is extremely responsive to e-mail.  I was uncertain about which forms to download from the Préfecture’s website, but an e-mail was answered in 24 hours with links to the correct forms and a currently list of supporting documents.  The list of documents was the same as last year. They were also kind enough to make an appointment for us to submit our renewal application.  The Préfecture’s e-mail responsiveness saved us from making a physical trip to Perpignan to pick up forms and make an appointment saving us a great deal of time while we were in the process of changing residences.

The list of supporting documents for our renewal appointment is actually short and straight forward.  Bring the original document and a copy of the following:

1. Current Carte de Séjour (residency permit) that is being renewed. Something that was different this time: during our appointment our Préfecture officer made an extra copy of both Carte de Séjours and added them to each other’s renewal application.

Carte de Sejour
Carte de Sejour

2. Passport with copies of pages with identification information, expiration dates, with all entry stamps, and visas.

3. Marriage certificate since our passports do not confirm marital status. This document was not specifically on our list from the Préfecture des PyrénéesOrientales but from past experience we knew marriage status had to be confirmed at each renewal.  There is also an attestation that we are married on the renewal form that our Préfecture officer witnessed us signing.

4. Birth certificate.

5. Proof of the location of residency with our lease, rent receipts from last year, and our power bill (A French Power Bill is the Ultimate Identity Document)

6.  Four recent passport-style photographs.  There are passport photo machines everywhere from retail stores to train stations.  Photos are required with almost all government applications.

7.  €106 payment for each of us submitted by timbres fiscaux (tax stamps.)  The tax stamps are sold in specific Tabacs (tobacco and convenience stores).  This was a bit more challenging since I couldn’t find a Tabac in Argelès-sur-Mer who sold them and in Perpignan I was also having difficulties.  We were finally sent to the Trésor Public (Public Treasurer) at the Centre Des Finances Publiques à Perpignan where there was a helpful gentleman at a cashier window who was happy to sell us the timbres fiscaux.

 Tax Stamps (timbres fiscaux)
Tax Stamps (timbres fiscaux)

8. Proof of financial independence equivalent to 12 times the monthly French minimum wage.  I had previously requested an income verification letter about our pensions from the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System.  We also prepared a translation including a conversion of dollars to euros at the current exchange rate.  That was the only document we bothered to translate.  We submitted a confirmation letter from our French bank that stated that we were customers in good standing too.

9. Sworn handwritten attestation not to exercise any occupation in France. There is also an attestation on the renewal form that our Préfecture officer witnessed us sign.  Our visa status is specifically for retirees and prohibits us from working in France.

10.  Self-addressed, stamped envelopes which are available from any supermarket or post office.

Tracy (A.K.A. the “Queen of Organization”) took my collection of paperwork, rearranged and organized our documents exactly in the order of the checklist, and made certain the required spaces on the renewal form were filled in.

Carte de Sejour Renewal Paperwork with our mobile file of personal documents
Carte de Sejour Renewal Paperwork with our mobile file of personal documents

On our appointment date of March 15, (yes, the ominous ‘Ides of March’)  we took the €1 Bus the 23 kilometers (14.5 miles) from Argelès-sur-Mer to Perpignan.

Préfet des Pyrénées-Orientales, Perpignan.
Préfet des Pyrénées-Orientales, Perpignan.

Our appointment was at 9:15. so we took the early bus and arrived in Perpignan with time to enjoy a café crème and a pain au chocolat before walking to Préfecture’s annex in the Hôtel D’Ortaffa located behind the actual Préfecture. We arrived as the office opened at 9:00 and waited as a police officer from the Police Nationale hand-checked the bags of visitors as they entered.

Tracy having a café crème at Le Grand Café de la Poste in Perpignan
Tracy having a café crème at Le Grand Café de la Poste in Perpignan
Hôtel D'Ortaffa, Perpignan
Hôtel D’Ortaffa, Perpignan

There was a short line at the check-in window, but before we could reach the window, a young customer service representative in a red vest looked at our appointment e-mail and walked us into the immigration office.  We waited a couple of minutes and were called to a window for our appointment at exactly at 9:15.

Our very helpful and friendly immigration officer was extremely impressed with Tracy’s organization and deemed it “Parfait!” (Perfect!) The only issue was with the electronic fingerprint scanner which had difficulties reading my dry hands and it took several attempts to get readable prints.  Tracy had no such problems.

This renewal was much simpler than last years since we were not changing regions and we had a regular lease and power bill.

Our final step was to sign and accept our Récépissés de Demande de Titre de Séjour (receipt of application for residency permits) that serve as temporary Cartes de Sejours. Our immigration officer advised us that we will be sent notification letters that will let us know that we can return with our timbres fiscaux (tax stamps), passports, and Récépissés de Demande de Titre de Séjour to collect our new  Cartes de Sejours for 2016-2017.

Récépissés de Demande de Titre de Séjour 2015
Récépissés de Demande de Titre de Séjour 2015

Success!

And Tracy received official recognition that she is, “Parfait!” But I already knew that. We were “in-and-out” of the Préfecture in 45 minutes total after processing  both our renewals.  I know there is a stereotype of cumbersome French bureaucracy, but (“knock on wood”) we have had minimal challenges and all the representatives have been very patient and helpful.

Now we just have to wait for our notice in the mail to arrive and our return trip to Perpignan..

Tracy in front of the Castillet near the Prefecture in Perpignan
Tracy in front of the Castillet near the Prefecture in Perpignan

Related posts: First Renewal of Our Residency Permit (Titre de SéjourCartes de Séjour Arrived To Help Celebrate Our First Year In France,  Second Renewal of Our Residency Permits (Cartes de Séjour) Part 1, and Second Renewal of Our Residency Permits (Cartes de Séjour) Part 2

 

Voting in the Global Presidential Primary

Hello. My name is Alan and I’m a politics addict.

I was part of the Twenty-sixth Amendment’s first class of 18-year-old voters allowed to participate in federal elections and have voted in every election since. My first degree was in political science and I have a master’s degree in public administration and public policy. I have a personal philosophy of “voting for the person, not the party” and have changed my party affiliation numerous time to support a candidate I believed merited my support in a primary election and I have voted for local, state, and national candidates of all parties. I have volunteered to work on election campaigns. I follow elections, legislative sessions, and court decisions the way some people follow the NFL football season. I believe voting is a privilege and a duty and find it appalling that the US has such low voter participation. I strongly support programs like Oregon’s “Motor Voter” system to encourage more people to actively exercise their political franchise. Since moving to France Tracy and I have made a point of “voting back home” by use of absentee ballot.

Hello. My name is Alan and I’m a politics addict.

I can tell you that Tracy, who does not share my politics passion, puts up with my obsessive following of all things political with the same kind of patience that she did when the kids were little and telling her why they HAD TO hit their brother first.

I had recently — and by recently I mean every day since the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary — been lamenting the fact that our home state of Nevada has replaced primary elections with the caucus system since 2008. There is no option to participate by “absentee voting” in a caucus which requires face-to-face participation.

However, while reading about the upcoming March 1, 2016 “Super Tuesday” presidential primary elections, I discovered that Super Tuesday includes the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary that we can participate in.

Global Presidential Primary logo (Democrats Abroad website)
Global Presidential Primary logo
(Democrats Abroad website)

Democrats Abroad is a fifty-two year old, official Democratic party organization representing US citizens living permanently or temporarily overseas. It has “state-level” recognition by the National Democratic Party for representing overseas voters. The Republican Party has a similar organization, Republicans Overseas, but the Republican National Committee does not considered Republicans Overseas a “state committee” and it does not conduct its own global primary.

From 1976 to 2004 Democrats Abroad have sent delegates to Democratic National Convention using a caucus system. Since 2008, Democrats Abroad have conducted Global Primary Elections for Democratic party voters among the approximately 8,700,000 Americans that live overseas.

US States by Population with the Number of Overseas Americans (Democrats Abroad website)
US States by Population with the Number of Overseas Americans
(Democrats Abroad website)

Participation in the Global Primary Election is extremely easy.

1.) Be living permanently or temporarily abroad.

2.) Take a couple of minutes to join Democrats Abroad via their website.  You list your name, date of birth, phone numbers, US voting address, and your physical address abroad. After completing your application you are sent a e-mail link to activate your membership account.

3.) You are then authorized to vote at one of the 121 official Voting Centers in more than 40 countries, during the week of March 1 to March 8. (There are ten Voting Centers throughout France.)

4.) If you are unable to vote in person (Toulouse is our closest Voting Center and we are in the middle of moving), you can e-mail, fax, or “snail mail” your ballot to Democrats Abroad.  In just a few minutes, Tracy and I downloaded, filled-in our indentification information, selected a candidate, signed, scanned, and e-mailed our ballots to Democrats Abroad ahead of the March 1 to March 8 physical voting period. A mailed ballot must be postmarked by March 8 and ballots received after March 13, 2016 as deemed invalid and will not be counted.

5.) Of course, you can only vote once for a presidential candidate: either through the Global Primary Election or through your home state. You can either vote absentee, or participate in the caucus in your home state. or participate in the Global Primary Election.

Based on the results of the Global Primary Election, Democrats Abroad will send 21 delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.  Our home state of Nevada will be sending 43 delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Tracy told me I was “way too excited” about being able to vote in a primary election.

Hello. My name is Alan and have I mentioned that I’m addicted to politics?

Tracy is across the room on her laptop diligently searching for a 12-step program.