The Vice Consul of the U.S. Embassy in Prague guided students, who want their voices to be heard in the upcoming U.S. elections, in a workshop about voting from abroad.

Kesed Haglund, a third-year International Relations and Diplomacy student and Student Council member, led the workshop with guest speaker Kasey Gardner who presented information on absentee voting.

“About two months ago, I was preparing for the primary election, and I was thinking to myself, ‘…what if people don’t vote because it’s difficult?’” said Haglung. She elaborates that, “there may still be some people that think it isn’t worth it. The goal of this event, I would say, is to eliminate any barrier.”

Gardner covered key points such as how to register to vote in the election while living abroad, common challenges absentee voters face, and the various consular services that are available at the U.S. Embassy in Prague.

Photo by: Ansley Kunzer

One question that the Vice Consul answered was: what happens if your ballot doesn’t come within 45 days?

“There are a couple of things you can do: you can write the voter program and ask them to send an inquiry on the status of your ballot, you can check with your Secretary of State… but, if it gets closer to the election and you feel like you’re at risk of not being able to vote, you can also download the online provisional ballot from the voter program, and then mail it back to the U.S.,” said Gardner.

First, Gardner advised voters to look into what their voting district is according to their home state and when the voter registration deadline is. Voters can also check their Secretary of State website to find specific instructions and information for their voting district.

An absentee voter should register to vote by filling out an absentee voter registration card, which can be found online, or obtained in the U.S. Embassy in Prague. They must then print the registration form and send it through the mail.

“Here in Prague, if you enter the U.S. Embassy, directly to the left of the front door is a mailbox. For voting purposes, that functions exactly the same way the post office does in the United States,” said Gardner.

The voting registration form also comes with free postage printed on the back. Once it is filled out, the voter can drop it right into the mailbox and it will be on its way.

After the presentation, Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request forms were passed out to students who then had the opportunity to fill out the form. Over the remainder of the event, students’ questions and concerns were answered.

“If I registered to vote in a local election already, does this mean I’m already registered for a federal election?” one student asked. Gardner responded that registering in a local election also means a voter is registered for the federal election.

Absentee voter registration forms will also be available at AAU, as Haglund plans to pass them out to students in the near future. For more information, visit How to Vote Absentee (