While we are happy residents of Niterói and the greater Rio area, we still feel strongly about US domestic politics (could you tell!?)
So we requested absentee ballots from our Florida voting precinct, which were delivered to our Florida address. My mother then forwarded them to us here. (US$72.00 DHL fee - yikes!)
At that price we were more determined than ever to get our ballots returned in time to make an impact. As new Florida Democrats we have been looking forward to casting two more votes for Obama. Plus there is a nasty anti-gay constitutional amendment that would outlaw any way, shape or form of legal partnership/civil union/marriage for us targeted gay types. (Florida is not a liberal kind of place...)
The ballot struck me by how many constitutional amendments were listed. Like: 5. What's up with that? What happened to elected lawmakers making the law? The residents feel they have to carve everything into the state constitution? It was a bit scary.
Anyway - once we voted I was determined to get them back in time - and NOT pay another crazy international shipping fee (the postal service is just too unpredictable in this case.) So I called the US Embassy and inquired if we could drop off our ballots and have them shipped back in the mail they were surely sending back for this occasion. Bingo. Free on time delivery guaranteed.
Once the ballots are back in the states the Embassy folks will drop them into the US postal service for delivery to individual precincts. And they provided a postage paid envelope for that local service in the States.
So on Wednesday I went to the Embassy, flashed my Florida ID (should have brought my passport, actually), skipped to the front of the block-long line of Brazilians seeking visas, and proceeded to the American Citizens Services Unit.
After just a little wait there my number was called. The one thing that caught me by surprise was hearing someone talk to me in English with an American accent. It was really noticeable. I'd almost forgotten the distinct sound. I smiled.
Everyone was very helpful and I was out of there in no time.
Levers pulled. Fingers crossed.