Voting at McDonald's and what Trump had in common with the Berlin protestors

Americans in Berlin: Here's how you can make sure your vote gets counted. 

Three ballots and a large fry, please.
Three ballots and a large fry, please.

Berlin-Last Saturday I didn’t actually cover the protests but I watched a number of live feeds and translated and re-tweeted my German colleagues’ tweets. At slow moments, I wandered around the corners of the internet where many of the protestors spend much of their time.

The corners were the kinds of places that said Saturday’s demonstration was likely to be so successful that German politicians (think Chancellor Angela Merkel and Health Minister Jens Spahn) were en-route to exile and German generals had already pledged their support to a new government and were rolling tanks toward the capital.

They were also the places where President Donald Trump was supposedly flying to congratulate the protestors in-person for overthrowing the Merkel regime.

Surely, I thought, nobody would believe this garbage. But then there were some Berlin protestors on Tiktok, on YouTube, on Twitter, talking about how much they believed this garbage.

Vote early, vote often

I then woke up Monday to find President Trump essentially saying to these protestors: Hold my beer. He had gone on Fox News and intimated that black-clad Portland rioters had boarded a plane to Washington to cause  “big damage”. More details? Sorry, he couldn’t say because it was under investigation. Oh that old juvenile canard.

These people, he said, were operating from the shadows and even controlled Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.


Still, it worried me and had me wondering if maybe I shouldn’t return to the US to help fight for a democracy I once believed in. Will the November election even happen?

Last night I got some reassurance. I got a postcard from Multnomah County Elections in Portland, Oregon (where I’m registered to vote) giving me the dates for when I should expect my mail-in ballot. They also told me how I could vote online if I thought that would be a better option.

Oregon knows how to do it.
Oregon knows how to do it.Photo: Andrew Bulkeley

So I want to remind all my Americans reading this that now is the time to act if you want to make sure your vote counts in November. Most states require you be registered by Oct. 5 and that you request a ballot by Oct. 27.

With President Trump working to dismantle the post office, it’s better to act now. Get your mail-in ballot ASAP, or find out if you can vote online. You can also send a back-up ballot now just in case your official ballot never gets to you, or never gets back to them. Yes it’s legal. And yes only one will be counted.

I won’t go into all the details. Check out for everything you need to know. Yes, it’s run by Democrats Abroad, so if you think they have some Deep State Jedi Mind Trick software running there, Republicans Overseas recommends this place, but, like most things recommended by Republicans, it feels like something from an older, worse time.

But the information is the same.

To be honest, I was never worried about my own ballot. Oregon has had mail-in voting since 1998 and Wednesday’s postcard just reaffirmed the state’s competence. It helps that Portland is a mid-sized city (population 653,114) so any mail is sorted almost immediately by someone with a beard, flannel shirt and coffee breath.

Air mail between Germany and Portland isn’t a problem either because of the reliable airline service thanks to Daimler North America’s Portland headquarters. Swabian carmakers have to be able to jet from Stuttgart to the Pacific Northwest at the drop of a camshaft.

And while I worry about the rest of the US being able to vote, I know Mutnomah County is safe. How? Because what better way to get Americans to vote than to let them do it at McDonald’s? In Portland you can (well, you can turn in your mail-in ballot there, but close enough).