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      Citizens residing outside the U.S. who have not yet submitted a registration and ballot request (FPCA) for the 2014 calendar year should do so as soon as possible in order to participate in upcoming general elections.  The 2014 elections will decide 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats, 33 U.S. Senate seats, and the Governors’ seats of 36 states.

Below is the process for voting absentee:

The official US Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance is the Federal Voting Assistance Program http://www.fvap.gov/. It has a wealth of information about absentee voting, including the downloadable absentee ballot application, state-specific instructions for completing the form, links to state and local officials, and a downloadable emergency ballot.

  • Complete an application form and send it to local election officials in the U.S.
  • The local official approves your request, or contacts you for further information.
  • The local official sends you an absentee ballot.
  • Complete the ballot and send it back in time to meet your state’s deadline.
  • States are now required to offer electronic delivery of ballots, either via email or fax. Be sure to clearly mark your preferences in item 4c of the application form. If you select email and your state offers only electronic delivery via fax, local officials may default to delivery by mail.

Each state has different voting procedures. Information about your state’s deadlines to register and vote and a calendar of election dates is available at http://www.fvap.gov/.

States sometimes make last-minute changes. There may be late changes to your state’s voting calendar, procedures or deadlines. When these occur, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will issue a news release.

Emergency ballots: If the ballot receipt deadline for the general election is approaching, and you have not yet received the blank ballot from local officials, you may download an emergency ballot, write in the names of the candidates and the offices for which they are running, and send it back in time to meet your state’s ballot receipt deadline. The emergency ballot (SF-186, Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, or FWAB) is at http://www.fvap.gov/.

Remarks as prepared by Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on May 13, 2011.

Thank you so much for inviting me to speak at CSIS today. It is a pleasure to be introduced by my distinguished predecessor and friend Ambassador Rick Inderfurth. I’m pleased to see that as the new Wadhwani Chair of U.S.-India Policy Studies, Rick and his team have dug right in, playing a vital role celebrating the successes and highlighting the challenges in U.S.-India relations today. CSIS provides policymakers with an exceptional array of commentary and analysis on a daily basis and I’m thrilled that they have added such an important India thinker to the CSIS team.

I heard that Rick, in the course he taught on South Asia Politics at the George Washington University, began each semester with a certain quotation by the great statesman and former Ambassador to India, Chester Bowles. Bowles noted upon his return to the United States in 1969 after serving as Ambassador to India for the previous two years, that engaging with India was in the United States’ national interest, and that India would have a “big impact on the world.” Some 42 years later, Bowles’ sentiments are truer today than ever.

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Update on U.S.-India Relations

On April 7, 2011, in News, by Hyderabad ACS

Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, recently testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. In wide-ranging comments, Assistant Secretary Blake touched on a number of topics of interest to Americans living and working in India.

Some excerpts are below, but you can read the entire testimony at the state.gov Web site.

The United States seeks to deepen its strategic partnership with India, highlighted by President Obama’s recent visit to Mumbai and New Delhi in November 2010. Mirroring India’s economic and political dynamism, the entire region is in the midst of a positive trajectory towards prosperity and peace. The United States aims to bolster this regional progress by promoting greater integration, which can build ties that will reinforce democratic institutions, build economies, and enhance security.

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Hey New Yorkers: Time to Vote!

On March 19, 2011, in Voting, by Hyderabad ACS

On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, New York will hold a special election for the 26th Congressional District, to fill the seat vacated by Representative Christopher J. Lee. The 26th Congressional District includes the following counties: Erie, Genesee,Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.

To determine if your legal residence is in the 26th Congressional District, go to: http://www.house.gov/, then use the “Find Your Representative” dialog on the upper left corner. To vote in this election you must register by submitting a post-marked Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) by April 29, 2011. New York also allows you to email or fax the FPCA, but you still must mail it as well to insure you meet the signature requirements.

Your FPCA must be received by your local New York Board of Elections Office by May 4, 2011. Go to www.fvap.gov and get started! It only takes a few minutes!