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01.10.2008 Politics

American Embassy in Accra opens Voter Registration


Scores of American citizens in Ghana on Wednesday poured out at the Accra Embassy to participate in the first phase of the process for obtaining an Absentee Ballot Paper to vote in the November 4th Presidential Election.
All U.S. citizens of 18 years and above who reside outside the United States during an election period are eligible to vote by absentee ballot in any election for Federal office.
In an interview with Ghana News Agency, Mr. Benjamin A. East, Press Attache explained that ballot paper gives the voter the option to write-in a candidate and use straight ticket voting.

He said a significant source of absentee ballots comes from the population of Americans living outside the United States and those unable or unwilling to vote at polling stations on Election Day.
Absentee ballots are most commonly sent and received via the United States Postal Services, Electronic Mails or by fax
Mr East said typically, a voter must request an absentee ballot before the Election Day, stressing that, registering to vote is the responsibility of individuals in the United States, since voters are not automatically registered to vote once they reach the age of 18 years.

Mrs Nicole Johnson, Vice Consular told the GNA that, the scores of potential voters would be assisted to fill the Registration and Absentee Ballot Request-Federal Post Card Application form.

She said the potential voter has the option of either mailing it directly or submitting it for the consular to mail it.

The potential voter would receive the Absentee Ballot Paper directly at his or her address in Ghana. The Potential Voter would then fill the ballot paper and mail back to his last state of residence before coming to Ghana.

Mr Mike Strayer an elected potential voter told the GNA that he sees the election as a civic obligation to vote to contribute to the good of America's decision-making.
He admitted that even though is is more convenient to vote at home, he is not perturbed by the process overseas which is also simply.
Mr Strayer said; “I have already decided who to vote for on November 4th, it will take my .. Party to change their candidate, get a good candidate for me to change my decision on who to vote for.”

Others, especially the first time voters were delighted to participate in the process to vote on November 4th.

The eligibility of an individual for voting is set out in the constitution, which states that suffrage cannot be denied on grounds of race or colour, sex, or age.

Beyond these basic qualifications, it is the responsibility of state legislatures to regulate voter eligibility. Some states bar convicted criminals, especially felons, from voting for a fixed period of time or indefinitely.

Some states also have legacy constitutional statements barring the "insane" or "idiots" from voting; such references are generally considered obsolete and are being considered for review or removal where they appear

Mr Michael P. Evans Consular Section Chief directed the whole registration process.
The Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama is slugging it with the Republican Party candidate John McCain for the November 4th Presidential Elections.