INGTON (AFP) - An American immigrant couple living in India and seeking to vote in their first US election flew home to vote in person when their absentee ballots failed to arrive in time, US media reported Saturday.
Susan Scott-Ker, a native of New Zealand, and her Moroccan-born husband moved to Bangalore, India for her work last year just months after they were sworn in as US citizens, and thought they had made all necessary arrangements to vote from afar in the November 4 presidential election, the New York Times reported.
But in early October they discovered that the Board of Elections in Manhattan, where they are registered to vote, required a separate application if they were to receive absentee ballots.
Scott-Ker said she followed the requirements "to the letter," even providing an addressed envelope for the ballot to be sent back to India. But in the ensuing weeks no ballots arrived.
"We realized we're not going to get to vote, and we were all geared up to do this," Scott-Ker, 45, told the Times, describing how they considered enlisting a friend to get their ballots and courier them to India. "There were so many ifs and buts," she said. "I didn't want a bureaucratic process to get in the way of casting a ballot." After a long talk with her husband, she said, they opted to postpone a beach holiday in order to participate in the democratic process.
"We decided it was important to stand up and be counted," Scott-Ker said.
Asked whether it was worth making the 22-hour, 5,000-dollar, 9,300-mile (15,000-kilometer) trip to New York, a state where polls show a 30-percent lead for their candidate Barack Obama over Republican John McCain, Scott-Ker was adamant.
"Then you're relying on other people to do your job," she told the daily.
"Apathy doesn't work in a democracy."