Temporary. Indefinite. Choose one.

The U.S. Presidential election absentee voting ballot application recently prompted an existential crisis when it asked me to choose between the following options:

1) I am residing outside the U.S., and I intend to return.

2) I am residing outside the U.S., and I do not intend to return.

Umm…neither? We don’t have actual plans to move back to America, but I also don’t necessarily see us living in Switzerland forever. I’m quite comfortable with the idea of continuing our current situation until it doesn’t work for us anymore. Yes, it’s vague. We’re not very good long-term life planners, but we are pretty good at adapting to changing conditions and making major life changes fairly quickly when the opportunity presents itself. (Case in point: The time between our deciding it’d be fun to live in Europe and landing in Switzerland with 12 pieces of luggage and boxes on the way was fewer than 10 months.)

Unfortunately the California Secretary of State doesn’t consider “yeah, maybe, someday, we’ll see,” an acceptable option.

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  • Matt says:

    The one for New York was a bit more realistic,
    a) Temporary overseas and will return to USA for next voting period
    b) Overseas with no definite return date

  • Kelly says:

    Matt – I agree, that’s a much less panic-inducing way to phrase the options.

  • Matt T says:

    I’d just go with “intend to return”. I mean, you’ll certainly return for a visit at least, right?

    I don’t know, I think until/unless you really decide you are *not* coming back (and apply for citizenship elsewhere) that you’re ok saying you intend to return “someday”. You can change your mind later if circumstances change. Having concrete plans to return and having vague intentions of “someday” are different things, but it seems like the weaker is all that’s being asked. But I get your dilemnia, NY’s question sounds better.

  • Whitney says:

    I had exactly the same thoughts! Ohio’s was very similar to CA’s. Who can ever say for sure?


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