-- It's easy to let a trip — whether for business or pleasure — get in the way of exercising your right to vote.
"Election Day is during the week, and for business travelers, that's tough," says Jeff Zaino, VP of elections for the American Arbitration Association.
But most states allow voters to apply for absentee voting in coming weeks, he says, and 31 states are allowing in-person early voting this year — which means more options for travelers.
Follow these expert tips and have your voice heard on Nov. 4.
•Process particulars vary from state to state, but the first step is to register to vote. Then check out your secretary of State's website and register for an absentee ballot. You'll then receive a ballot in the mail that you fill out and send in before your state's deadline.
•Planning to be overseas in November? "People don't lose their right to vote, even if they're living or working overseas," says Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, founder and CEO of the Overseas Vote Foundation. "Even if they're biking through Timbuktu on Election Day, they can vote."
For the first time, OVF teamed up with FedEx this year to form Express Your Vote — a method for returning and tracking your overseas ballot. Sign up online (overseasvotefoundation.org), and once your ballot has arrived, OVF will give you a FedEx airway bill that will allow free (in many countries) shipment back.
"All you need is an overseas address," says Dzieduszycka-Suinat. "Students studying abroad can have their absentee ballot sent to their school's overseas office."
•Even by boat, you can rock the vote. Dzieduszycka-Suinat recommends sending your ballot to your cruise line's office at the port of call that you'll be visiting before your state's absentee deadline. Fill it out and mail it in before hitting the high seas again.
"We want a landslide of overseas votes to get back to the U.S. this year," Dzieduszycka-Suinat says.
•Still have specific questions you can't find the answers to? Try calling Election Protection, a non-partisan coalition, at 866-687-8683. Staffed by more than 10,000 volunteers across the country, this free hotline is available to help out-of-town voters.