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Vote From Abroad

Voter Registration: Deadlines, Alerts and Important Info for the Overseas Citizen

The overseas electoral system in the US is at best confusing, and frequently impossible to sort out. Federal elections are run by the states, and they do not have uniform rules amongst the states and too frequently even within a state. Local election official frequently have great discretion. The following attempts to provide some clarity on issues relevant to voters in the next month.
Registration Deadlines
* Earliest Deadlines: No state has a registration deadline before October 6.
* Meeting the Deadline by Fax: Most states allow the deadline to be met by faxing the original signed FPCA as long as the original hardcopy is mailed and received before the ballots are counted.
Exceptions: New York, Alabama, and Wyoming do not accept faxes. Alabama has a registration deadline of October 24. New York has a registration deadline of October 10. Wyoming has a registration deadline of October 6. The only way to meet the deadlines for NY, AL, and WY is to ensure that your original FPCA arrives in the local election official’s office by mail no later than the deadline. (New York and Wyoming will also accept them by courier services).
* Later Deadlines: Some states have a later deadline registration deadline. Check them here: Registration Dates

Ballot Request Deadlines: How to request a ballot if you are already registered
* The same FPCA form is also used to request a ballot. No state has a ballot request deadline before October 6.
* Some states have a later deadline for people who have previously registered as overseas voters.
* Most states allow the deadline to be met by faxing the original signed FPCA as long as the original hardcopy is mailed and received before the ballots are counted.
Exceptions: New York, Alabama, and Wyoming do not accept faxes. Alabama has a ballot request deadline of October 30. New York has a ballot request deadline of October 24. Wyoming has a ballot request deadline of November 3. The only way to meet the deadlines for NY, AL, and WY is to ensure that your original FPCA arrives in the local election official’s office by mail no later than deadline. (New York and Wyoming will also accept them by courier services).

* Some states have a later registration deadline. Check here:
Registration Dates

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)
* Use this back-up ballot if your state ballot does not arrive in time to return it using your local mail system.
* If you have not yet sent in your FPCA, you should:
Fax your FPCA (unless you vote in AL, NY, or WY); and mail the original along with the FWAB. The FWAB must go in a blank envelope that is referred to as a security envelope. The security envelope, the voter declaration and the FPCA should all be mailed together from outside the United States. (If you are in the Uniformed Services or the Merchant Marines you can mail it from within the U.S.).
* If you have already registered and requested your ballot, only mail the security envelope with the voted ballot inside and the voter declaration.
* Foreign Postmark: All states will accept a foreign postmark as evidence of submission form outside the U.S.
* Consular Stamp: All states have been informed by the U.S. State Department that they should accept a consular stamp as evidence of submission from outside the U.S.
* Commercial Courier: Some states will also accept a commercial courier service waybill as evidence of submission from outside the U.S.
Using a courier service should be a last resort. Alabama explicitly refuses to accept materials sent to them by commercial couriers, such as Federal Express and DHL.
U.S. Citizens who never lived in the U.S.
* Federal law does not require any state to extend voting eligibility to a person who has never resided in that state on the basis that one or both of the person’s parents formerly resided in that state. Many states, however, do.
* Disenfranchised: Children born abroad to voters otherwise eligible to vote in Alaska, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are disenfranchised by state law.
* Enfranchised: Children born abroad to voters eligible to vote in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are specifically enfranchised by state law, i.e. they are allowed to register and vote.

* All other states are silent on the issue. Voters in this situation should send in an FPCA; if it is rejected, they should notify votercentral@democratsabroad.org.
Denver, Colorado Voters
* The Denver election office moved in June, and FPCAs were not forwarded to the new address. Please ensure that your form was received.
* You can check your status on-line here
.
* You can also contact them by calling +1 720-913-8683 or emailing elections@denvergov.org.
* If your form was not received, you should fill out another one today and fax it to: +1 720 913-8600.
* All forms should also be mailed to:
Denver Elections Division
3888 E. Mexico Avenue
Denver, CO 80210 USA.
Visiting the U.S.
* If you live abroad, but are currently in the U.S., you can call your local election official to find out if there are any additional voting options available.
* If you are still abroad, but plan to be visiting the US on Election Day, you should mail your Federal Write-In Ballot BEFORE you enter the U.S.
Fax Numbers
* If the toll free fax number
from your country is not working, please use the following number: +1 703 693-5527.
* The FVAP know that several of these numbers, including the one from China, are not working, and they are investigating.
MYTH: “If I vote, the IRS will hassle me.”
Voting in US Federal elections does not affect the determination of tax liability or tax residence. You will not hear from the IRS because you voted in a Federal election, i.e. President, Senate, or House of Representatives. (Note: Voting in state and local elections can potentially affect state and local tax status. We recommend that you seek expert advice before voting in state or local elections.) For more info, click here
.

H. RES. ll Recognizing persons of African descent in Europe

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Mr. HASTINGS of Florida submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on RESOLUTION Recognizing persons of African descent in Europe. Whereas the 109th Congress passed H. Con. Res. 60 and S. Con. Res. 90, recognizing African descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean, raising awareness of the racism and discrimination faced by those communities, and leading to numerous public and private sector initiatives between the United States and Latin American and Caribbean countries to improve the situation of African descendants; Whereas the persistence of racism and discrimination in Eu-rope similarly necessitates congressional action to raise awareness and promote public and private sector initiatives to stem this trend;

Whereas the terms Afro-European, African European, or Black European refers to people of African ancestry or descent born in, citizens of, or living in Europe; Whereas more than an estimated 7,000,000 individuals of African descent currently live in and have long had a presence in Europe, forming an influential part of the African diaspora; Whereas the story of Black Europeans remains untold, rendering many of their past and present contributions to the political and social life of Europe invisible or forgotten; Whereas, unlike more contemporary figures, largely unknown Blacks have made significant contributions to European history and culture, including Spanish poet Juan Latino, Italian Duke Alessandro Medici, French novelist Alexandre Dumas, German scholar Anthony William Amo, French Composer Le Chevalier de St. George, British abolitionist Oladuah Equiano, and Russian General and Governor Abram Hannibal, great-grandfather of Russian poet Aleksander Pushkin; Whereas the largest estimated populations of Black Europeans can be found in France (approximately 2,500,000), the United Kingdom (approximately 1,500,000), and the Netherlands (approximately 500,000), in addition to size-able populations in Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, and Austria; Whereas the presence of Blacks in Europe can be traced to voluntary and forced migration resulting from the geographical proximity of Europe to Africa and the Middle East, including the transatlantic slave trade,

the colonization of Africa and the Caribbean, African and African-American military deployments, the movement of refugees and asylum seekers, and educational and other professional exchanges; Whereas, although Black Europeans have made significant achievements in and contributions to European society, large numbers have and continue to be more likely than the general population to experience discrimination and be underrepresented in leadership roles in the public and private sector as a result of the color of their skin and ancestry; Whereas, on April 29, 2008, before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, at a hearing entitled The State of (In)visible Black Europe: Race, Rights, and Politics, Dr. Philomena Essed stated, Probably the only common European experience among many, if not all, Afro-descendants is their exposure to […] racism and systemic discrimination, regardless of country, socioeconomic conditions, gender, age, or level of education; Whereas racism has long been, and continues to be, a problem in Europe; Whereas the 1997 European Commission opinion poll entitled Racism and Xenophobia in Europe reported a worrying level of racism and xenophobia in [European Union] Member States, with nearly 33% of those interviewed openly describing themselves as quite racist or very racist; Whereas the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (EUFRA), formerly the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, found in its 2008 and

2007 annual reports that racial and ethnic minorities were disproportionately experiencing discrimination in housing, education, healthcare, employment, the criminal justice system, and access to political participation; Whereas the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights reported that racist violence and crime or hate crimes are also a continuing problem, with EUFRA reporting increases in 8 European Union countries, and Russia’s SOVA Center and Human Rights First reporting over 100 racist murders and 100 violent attacks in Russia and Ukraine in 2007 and 2008, yet in many countries funds to assist victims with legal assistance and financial support while recovering from violent attacks do not exist; Whereas prejudice and discrimination towards Black Europeans has also been linked to changes in immigration and asylum laws as a result of the growth and mainstreaming of nationalist and anti-immigrant political parties and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinheads, who believe Europe should be a monoracial society or that other races are inferior; Whereas Black Europeans encounter everyday racism, including denials that racism exists despite the blatant use of stereotypes and derogatory terms to refer to Blacks in everyday language, the media, and textbooks; Whereas there have been numerous efforts by the public and private sector to address racial discrimination and in-equality in Europe, including the introduction of anti-discrimination and equality laws that include the legal support for special measures or positive (affirmative) action, creation of equality bodies, media campaigns, efforts to increase minority political participation, and the September 9, 2008, official launching of the Black European Women’s Council at the European Union headquarters;

Whereas these efforts also include the September 27-29, 2007 Vienna Declaration of the Black European Women’s Congress, which calls for Members of the European Union to enforce and implement laws to eradicate all forms of discrimination, provide anti-racist education and training for personnel working in educational institutions and the civil service, increase political representation, participation, and employment opportunities for Blacks, and provide mental health services for Blacks impacted by racism; Whereas, despite these efforts, international entities, such as the OSCE Personal Representative on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, EUFRA, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, and Experts Working Group on People of African Descent, have documented ongoing racism and xenophobia, and racial and ethnic discrimination, and called for an increase in initiatives to combat racism and inequality; and Whereas, throughout the history of the United States, members of both the public and private sectors have ex-changed information on best practices for anti discrimination measures and racial equality with committed parties in other countries, including recent initiatives such as the Joint Action Plan Between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Government of the United States of America to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality, also known as VerDate 0ct 09 2002 09:46 Sep 23, 2008

the United States-Brazil Joint Action Plan Against Racial Discrimination: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives 1(1) encourages the United States and the international community to recognize and honor the his-3torical and present-day contributions of Black Europeans; 5(2) recognizes that, as a result of their skin 6color and ancestry, many Black Europeans have 7wrongfully experienced injustices in the public and 8private sector; 9(3) calls upon European parliamentarians, in-10cluding the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly, to 12 engage in efforts to promote racial equality and 13combat racial discrimination through efforts such as 14introducing legislation, speaking out in their par-15liaments against racism, and working with Black 16European and other minority communities to 17 develop relevant policies; 18(4) urges European governments and members 19of civil society and the private sector, in consultation 20 with Black European communities, to develop and 21 implement initiatives to combat racial discrimination 22 and promote racial equality in Europe,

by 7(A) drafting and implementing anti-1discrimination, special measures, hate crimes, 2,migration and integration, and other laws and 3 policies to address discrimination and 4 disparities and promote equality, noting the 5 recommendations of the United Nations 6 Committee on the Elimination of Racial 7 Discrimination, the Experts Working Group on People of 8 African Descent (WGPAD), the European 9 Commission against Racism and Intolerance, 10 the European Union Fundamental Rights 11 Agency (EUFRA), the United Nations Special 12 Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism 13 and Independent Expert on minority issues, the 14 OSCE Personal Representative on Combating 15 Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, and 16 the Black European Women’s Council; 17(B) promoting and funding research, 18 including the collection of national census data on 19 Black Europeans and their inclusion in the 20 annual reports of the EUFRA; 21(C) providing technical support, training, 22 and funding to Black European civil society 23 groups working to combat racism, discrimination, and inequality, and uphold basic 1 human rights in Europe; 2(D) introducing national measures to 3counter stereotypical images of persons of African descent, by revising textbooks, increasing 5efforts to include Black Europeans in history 6and heritage institutions, and commemorating victims of colonialism, slavery and other atroc-8ities; 9(E) developing or increasing financial 10 support for funds to assist victims of hate crimes with legal assistance and compensation when 12 incapacitated due to physical or emotional injuries;

14(F) developing specific initiatives that ad-15dress the special concerns of Black European 16women and youth; and 17(G) recruiting, training, and hiring Black 18 Europeans for professional positions in support 19 of these initiatives; and 20(5) urges the Secretary of State to 21(A) provide technical assistance and other 22 support for European governments and members of the civil society and private sector to 24 fulfill the initiatives outlined above; and 9(B) increase support for the WGPAD.

Hastings Urges Increased Support for Combating Racism and Discrimination

September 24, 2008

Contact: Lale Mamaux
Phone: (202) 225-1901
Cell: (202) 279-0442

Hastings Urges Increased Support for Combating Racism and Discrimination
against Blacks and Other Minorities in Europe

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), introduced a resolution (H.RES.1496) calling on the United States government to increase support for public and private sector initiatives focused on combating racism and discrimination against blacks and other minorities in Europe.

???Black Europeans are a population of more than 7 million. Increasingly, they have become the targets of violent hate crimes, many resulting in death,??? said Chairman Hastings. ???It is imperative that the U.S. government increase its support for European efforts to combat racism and discrimination.???

The introduction of the resolution coincides with the launch of the Black European Women???s Council (BEWC) and their effort to fight for equality. In an effort to raise public awareness at the national and international level, BEWC brought together over 130 Black women from across Europe to ???insist on the recognition and inclusion of Black Europeans economically, politically, and culturally.???

The resolution also urges European governments to implement recently introduced anti-discrimination legislation and action plans, including a fund for victims incapacitated as a result of a hate crime.

???Like African-Americans, Black Europeans continue to be hampered by inequalities in education, housing, employment, and the criminal justice system, (e.g., racial profiling). Few Blacks are in leadership positions and political participation is limited for many, providing additional obstacles for addressing these problems. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution recognizing Black Europeans, their numerous contributions to society, and the struggles they face daily,??? said Chairman Hastings.

On April 29, Chairman Hastings held a hearing entitled, ???The State of (In)visible Black Europe: Race, Rights, and Politics,??? (ctrl+click for link) focusing on the challenges and opportunities experienced by Europe???s Black population amidst reported increases in racism and discrimination, anti-immigration and national identity debates, and growing security concerns. Additionally, the hearing examined the impact of anti-discrimination measures as well as diversity initiatives aimed at ensuring and protecting equal rights for a population many do not know exists. Additional information on the hearing can be found at www.csce.gov.

###
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Lale M. Mamaux, Communications Director
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
(Helsinki Commission)
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (FL-23), Chairman
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman
234 Ford House Office Building
202-225-1901 (phone)
www.csce.gov

Vote From Abroad

The whole world is watching to see who the American people will choose as their next President. In fact they are even voting:

Vote For President

While their votes don???t count towards electing the US President, the votes of Black American Expatriates do. Are you prepared to cast your vote?

Whether you are a student studying abroad, active duty military, a long time expat, or just traveling abroad during the election you can register to vote and/or request your absentee ballot online using the Vote From Abroad website:

Vote From Abroad

State deadlines to request your ballot or to register are fast approaching, so sort yourself out today.

Vilma Howard, pioneer journalist

The writers and editors of the Paris Review, taken outside the Caf?? de Tournon in late 1954 or early 1955. Front row, from left to right: Vilma Howard, poet; Jane Lougee, the publisher of Merlin; Muffy Wainhouse, the wife of Austryn Wainhouse; Jean Garrigue, poet. Second row: Christopher Logue, poet and Merlin editor; Richard Seaver, editor of the Evergreen Review; Evan S. Connell, novelist; Niccolo Tucci, essayist and novelist; a lady known as “Gloria the Beautiful Cloak Model”; Michel van der Plats from the Dutch publication Het Vaderland; Peter Huyn, poet and editor; Alfred Chester, novelist and short story writer; Austryn Wainhouse, novelist and Merlin editor. Top row: Paris Review editors Eugene Walter, George Plimpton and William P??ne du Bois; James Broughton, film-maker; William Gardner Smith, novelist; Harold Witt, poet.

Vilma Howard, whose poetry has appeared in Phylon and the Paris Review, is a born New Yorker, who, after her marriage to a young Englishman, now lives in Lesham gardens, London, but frequently travels on the continent. She is a graduate of Fisk University, has one child, and sometimes works as a free lance journalist.