Absentee Voting Week and Virtual Town Hall

HEATHER VARIAVA: in Jakarta Welcome to our Town Hall for American citizens Thank you so much for joining us today It’s a pleasure to be with you I know that these are challenging times for all of us and we’re all having to learn new ways of doing things But I’m happy to report that the U.S. Embassy remains engaged and active here in Indonesia Despite the pandemic, the ties between the United States and Indonesia have never been stronger We appreciate how Americans and Indonesia are strengthening the bonds between the United States and Indonesia, and promoting a positive image of our country and our people I look forward to hearing from you today about how we can continue to work together to deepen and broaden our ties with Americans – with Indonesia and Indonesians We’re also looking forward to welcoming our new ambassador, Ambassador Sung Kim, who will arrive soon here in Indonesia, and I know he is looking forward to meeting with the American community I realize that due to the COVID-19 pandemic this is a difficult time to be overseas I want to assure you that we will continue to look after your welfare and provide you with the services that you need You can always contact the embassy if you need help Every week our Consular staff help destitute Americans return home, locate missing Americans, and assist families whose loved ones have passed away here in Indonesia On a more routine level, we continue to issue passports and consular reports of birth abroad Tonight, I wanted to highlight another key service we provide assisting Americans to vote Next week is absentee voting week and we would like to provide you with information on how to register to vote, how to request a ballot, and how to return your ballot This year, with the global disruptions to transportation as a result of COVID, it’s really important to start the voting process early – as early as possible Voting is an important right and responsibility of U.S. citizenship, and it can be done from anywhere in the world Even though we’re overseas, the way we vote depends on the state back home where we are registered to vote, and voting rules vary from state to state In some states, the entire voting process can be completed online, others require you to mail back your ballot, and we’re here to help you find out what your state’s rules are And never fear, if you do not yet receive your ballot from your state in time, you can always use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot I, in fact, just this morning, dropped off my ballots I vote in the state of Virginia and I’m able to get the ballot by email but have to mail it back, and our missions in Indonesia are set up to take your ballots and send them back to the United States, including tracking them so that you know they’ve arrived safely Both the embassy here in Jakarta and the consular agency in Bali are able to accept ballots and send them to the States Remember, your vote counts Many U.S. elections within the past 10 years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1% So, even the overseas ballots do count and will be important I’d also like to recognize and thank our citizen liaison volunteers in Indonesia I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived here in Indonesia for the last six years here in Jakarta and in Surabaya, and have had the opportunity to meet with some of our citizen liaison volunteers and they are really invaluable, and often the critical link between us here at the embassy and at the consulates, and the thousands of private Americans who visit and work throughout Indonesia every day Given the size and the geographic nature of Indonesia, our links with our citizen liaison volunteers are really important And if you would like to volunteer to be a citizen liaison volunteer, please contact our consular staff We would love to work with you I’m going to end my comments there, but we have several experts from our embassy with me here in the room, which is why I’m wearing my mask, and they will talk to you about a range of topics that I think will be of interest to all of our U.S. citizens here in Indonesia So thank you very much and welcome ERIC ALEXANDER: [INAUDIBLE] for welcoming everyone My name is Eric Alexander I am the Consul General here at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta I just recently arrived and it’s my pleasure to get a chance to speak to the American community today, and at least virtually begin to know you, and over my time here I hope conditions will allow to meet people in person and to really get to know the American community We want to talk about several things today

I’ll begin by discussing a little bit more about the technical details of absentee voting and the consular services we provide for U.S. citizens here And then our Regional Security Officer will speak on safety and security issues And finally, from USAID, a discussion about emergency planning and crisis preparedness, and then we will take questions So let me begin on the subject of absentee voting Again, voting is an important right of citizenship and an important civic duty, and we really want to help make sure that you’re able to vote in the upcoming elections And the key thing to start you off is that website – FVAP.gov – because every state has slightly different rules, slightly different ways that you can get your ballot and return your ballot So FVAP has all of the rules for all of the different states and that’s the perfect place to start Now, I know some of you have the question, “Well, what state is my home state in terms of voting?” So generally, that would be the last state you resided in before you left the United States to move and live overseas, whether that’s to come to Indonesia, or if you were in another country before you came here Whatever your last state of residence was in the U.S., that would be your home state for voting purposes Once you get your ballot, then you can either mail it back yourself directly or we can help you You can drop your ballots off here at the embassy, at the consular agency in Bali, and we can help to get those ballots back Again, anytime I think it’s important to try to get your ballot back as early as possible, but given the pandemic and the delays to transportation, we’re really urging people the sooner you can get it back, the better We know if you can get it back by October 2nd, we can be pretty sure that’ll get back to the States But really, the sooner you can get your ballot to us or get it back, the better because it has to get from here to America and then on to your local jurisdiction And again, just to reiterate, if you can’t get your ballot in time from your home state, you can go to FVAP and there is the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot that you can just print off and then send that back It’s a little bit more restrictive in terms of which offices you can vote for – it’s for president and congress, senate – but it is something you can just print off and vote on right away So those are the main details of voting As you can see here from the map, again, this just reiterates different states have different rules Some of them require you to mail them back Some you can mail or fax back your ballot, and others you can even send them back electronically So know what your state’s rule is And again, I would encourage you, if you can send it back by fax or electronically, that’s something you may really want to consider And if it needs to go back by mail, try to get it mailed back as soon as you can The next thing I’d like to discuss is the services we provide to American citizens, and these tend to fall into two categories – the sort of more routine services, the ones that we expect you’ll probably need to come to the embassy for and we’ll see you for, and the emergency services that, well, we hope you never really need to take advantage of, but that’s where we’re here to help you And one of the things that I think is important and that many people don’t know, when somebody’s appointed to be a U.S ambassador, they receive a letter from the President of the United States outlining what the President wants them to do And the very first thing in every letter that every ambassador receives is the protection of American citizens abroad This is our top priority from the ambassador on down throughout the embassy, and it’s something we take very, very seriously So if you have concerns, if there are areas we can help, please reach out to us This is what we’re here for In terms of those more routine services, the one you’re probably most familiar with is passports And, of course, we issue passports We can help you renew your passport And if your passport is lost or stolen, we can help to replace that and help to report it And I think it’s very important to reach out to us if your passport’s lost or stolen You don’t want somebody else to be using it and to use that passport in some bad way I will caution you, though It’s just like if you tell your bank that your credit card’s been stolen, don’t then try to use the credit card The same thing If you report your passport’s been lost or stolen, we put that into a database of lost or stolen passports, so if you then find it at the back of your sock drawer and say, “Oh, well, maybe I can just use this for the flight,” you’re likely to have trouble So if you’ve reported it lost or stolen, use the new passport that we can issue to you We also do reports of birth abroad for U.S. citizen children born overseas and help to issue them their first passport – something we really enjoy doing and getting to see our youngest and newest citizens In normal times, we’re also able to help you notarize documents that are going to be used in the United States

Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, this is not something that we can do right now As soon as we are safely able to resume that service, we will let you know And let me pause here to talk just a little bit about other services in terms of the impact of the pandemic We are fully open for passport renewals, emergency passports, and reports of birth abroad And we are providing all of the emergency services that I’ll talk about in a moment But many of those things, such as notary certificates, certificates that allow people to get married that are required by the government of Indonesia, and almost all of our visa services are not possible for us to do safely at this time We’re continuing to look at ways that we can safely provide those services, and as soon as we are able to, we will restart them But unfortunately, we really need to take seriously the health and safety of everyone And if you’ve been to the embassy in normal times, you know a consular waiting room is a busy place filled with people, and that’s not something we can safely do, and we wouldn’t want to risk putting anybody in that situation In terms of the emergency services, these again are the things generally we hope you won’t need But we do provide assistance to Americans who have been arrested We provide assistance to Americans who become destitute and need some financial assistance – they may need repatriation assistance in order to get home And we also provide assistance to American citizens, or in the case where an American citizen has passed away We work with the next of kin to issue a consular report of death abroad to deal with any issues relating to the estate, etc So these are things, again, we hope that you won’t need, but if you do, this is what we’re here for – and I think we need to go to the next slide, by the way, if we could These are things we’re here for Again, things can go wrong You can be a victim of crime You can have a medical problem where you need help and we deal with these right now They’re more complicated because of the pandemic situation and it’s something that we, again, are giving a lot of our resources and time to making sure we do So please do reach out to us We are here to help you Let me also just tell you a few things that we can’t do I think, you know, if you’ve ever watched a movie, there’s this myth out there where, all of a sudden, the consular officer shows up and gets somebody out of jail We can’t get you out of jail We can’t be your attorney, but we can give you information about how to contact attorneys We have lists of attorneys who can help you if you have legal difficulties So those are some of the areas where we can’t help you We can’t – you know, when we have American citizens who are destitute, for example, we can help lend you money, we can help put you in contact with people who help you, but we can’t just sort of stand there and hand out money, pay other fees that you may have We can’t act as a guarantor for you on different issues you may need So there are limits on what we can do But, again, where we have those, we try to help get you in touch with the people who can help, and that’s an important thing that we do So with that, I think that concludes sort of an overview of our services I will just close with that It’s an important point When you are overseas, you are subject to the laws of the country that you are in, and it’s important to know what those are Often times, they’re things we may take for granted that are a very serious issue in another country I’ll give two quick examples that recently have become common One, globally, you know, many times we’ll get cases where an American arrives at the airport, and maybe they and while they were in the States had been out at a shooting range or practicing and there’s a bullet casing in their bag That can cause you to be arrested in many countries around the world I just recently came from India where they have strict regulations against satellite phones So anyone who had a sat phone in their suitcase was liable to arrest and detention at the airport So make sure you know the information about the country you’re going to I recommend you go to travel.state.gov and look at our consular information sheets for different countries you may be visiting, and that will help you to be prepared and to be a smart traveler, both in terms of knowing now with extra COVID restrictions and in the future when hopefully we’re able to travel more freely again So that concludes my remarks and my presentation And it’s now my pleasure to turn over to Chris Gu, our Regional Security Officer for a discussion of safety and security issues CHRISTOPHER GU: Thank you very much, Eric Good afternoon everyone My name is Christopher Gu I’m the Senior Regional Security Officer here at the Embassy The RSO – we are Special Agents with the

law enforcement arms of the State Department Diplomatic Security Service Here I am responsible for the safety and security of all chief of mission facilities, personnel, and information And also, I am in charge of the Marine Security Guard program as well Interesting fact that the MSG program is the only program in the U.S federal government where a civilian is the commander of a military unit, and as a former Marine, I take a very high honor in that And to add to what my colleague Eric just said that just like you can’t expect the Consular Officer to magically show up overseas to render you aid, I also cannot send the Marines to come to help you as well, as you have seen in some of the movies So, here in the embassy and all of our other embassies and consulates throughout the world, we craft our security policies and procedures based on the Department’s Security Environment Threat List And for Indonesia, the list is divided into three categories – crime, political violence, and terrorism And here in Indonesia, we are marked high for all three categories The threat level is based on analysis of significant events in each category over a period of time So just because we see a sudden spike in crime, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to elevate our threat level right away The Department does try to look for trends versus peaks and dips in these three categories To talk about crime, since during the coronavirus pandemic – and I can tell you right now since we’re on the topic of crime that, according to the Indonesian police statistics, we are seeing a slight increase in certain categories, such as property theft and robbery, which is in line with the current economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and we’ll continue to monitor that as the pandemic moves, progresses here while the government of Indonesia continues to wrestle with it And on the category of terrorism, I’m very happy to report that, although the pandemic has impacted us severely in some areas, the Indonesian police continue to be very active in pursuing their counterterrorism mission, and that’s very comforting for everybody here And there’s one thing you would note that is not included in the Security Environment Threat List, and I can tell you there’s one category that I’m most concerned about while serving here Indonesia is natural disasters And now for those who’ve been in Indonesia or are very familiar with Indonesia, you know that Indonesia is affected by a slew of natural disasters, from flooding to earthquake to tsunami, volcanic eruptions, and now we can add the pandemic too as well, and that’s another reason why everybody in this room looks like we are on the witness protection program So, with natural disasters – and I do worry about that because of its unpredictability They don’t hit when it’s most convenient for us They don’t pick – it’s a workday, when everybody’s in the office, and everything’s functioning, and so that we can have a proper response to it They happen very unpredictably and sometimes when we’re least prepared for it For example, just two nights ago, the heavy rain that triggered flooding in parts of Jakarta and West Java, and with a very active September, flooding is a very big possibility It’s something we have to be ready for So how do we get prepared for the unexpected is, within law enforcement, we play the “What if…” game And something you can do with just by yourself, with your loved ones, and especially with kids, you know, just to test their preparedness, their readiness, you can ask, “Well, sweetie, what happens if this happened right now? Do you know what to do? If this happened at this time, do you know who to contact?” So these are things that you can do before a disaster hits, so that if it did unfortunately hit,

you’re better prepared for it Some of the other tips that I can offer you will be to have a Go Bag in place or a Shelter In Place Kit that when a disaster hits, you can just grab it and go instead of scrambling and try to put important documents, medications, money, or some food and water into a bag to go Another thing is a communication plan That hit home right after I arrived here last summer I remember, in August 2019, there was a massive power loss in Jakarta that knocked out cell services So, you know, these days, we all cannot live without our smartphones, our internet So, what happens when these two items are not available? Do you know how to get in contact with your loved ones to let them know that you’re okay, for you to learn that they’re okay, and how to get together, rally together, or where to go? So these things are very important So it’s crucial to have a good communication plan with your family Another thing is know your school or work emergency plans If it’s the school’s emergency plan, you need to discuss that with your children It hit home when I served in Africa, when there was one incident when a rebel group actually attacked an international school, and then when the news broke, all the parents, the first instinct was to rush to the school and try to see if the kids were okay The school did not have a good emergency plan in place, and then what happened was all the parents’ vehicles choked up the road leading to the school that prevented the local police emergency vehicles to reach the school, and that resulted in a pretty big chaotic scene So these are things that you need to think about Like, be familiar with your kids’ school emergency plans, discuss it with them And it goes back to the communication plan If something happened in the school, how do we get in contact with the child or your children? How do I get in contact with the school? Do I need to go respond to the school right away or is it better that I stay behind and just wait for more information to come to you? So these are things that you need to think about before something bad happens The other thing is identify intermediate safe areas in the city So, Jakarta is a very big city If something happened in central Jakarta, where do we go? If something happened, just say you live in southern Jakarta, something happened there, where do we go? Do we go to central Jakarta? Do we stay at our home? Do we go somewhere else? These are things you need to start thinking before disaster hits Make copies of all critical documents and keep together somewhere safe It goes back to the Go Bag/Shelter in Place Kit But these critical documents, such as your passport, it’d be good for you to make photocopies of the passport’s bio pages, so that even if your passport is lost, these photocopies can help you get a replacement And, of course, memorize important phone numbers, to include your – to make sure your children also memorize these important phone numbers, because I know if I ask my daughter right now, “What is daddy’s phone number?” She’s going to say, “Number one.” And that doesn’t help during an emergency So make sure your children know these important phone numbers And the last thing – putting a plug for my Consular colleagues – is register in the STEP program – the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program It’s very important It’s sometimes even critical, because if you’re not enrolled in that program, we may not know you’re here in country, and then during a crisis or an emergency, it’ll just take that much longer time for us to get to you, and sometimes during a crisis, time is of the essence Thank you RYAN WASHBURN: My name is Ryan Washburn I’m the USAID Mission Director here at U.S Embassy Jakarta I’m going to pick up where Chris left off and speak a little bit more about disasters and how to prepare for them As you know, living in Indonesia means living with the risk of natural and, this year, non-natural disasters Just the two pictures up there on the previous slide, the first one mentions the major earthquakes – recent – and the right is the major volcanoes So you can see that there’s a lot going on here

If we can go to the next slide So these are the major risk categories We have got the geo hazards that are sort of unpredictable as we’re talking about, but have a major impact And then on the hydro- meteorological hazards These are something that are a little bit more seasonal and something that we can see that’s happening more often Since 2016, Indonesia experienced over 2,000 disaster events, and the data showed that the most common is flooding – and so flooding and then landslides 95% of these natural disasters are from weather- related events – the hydro-meteorological events The vast majority are small, localized, and within the capability of the government of Indonesia to respond However, even though Indonesia’s ability to anticipate and issue disaster early warning and response is improving, the impact is mirroring that of the United States or other developed countries where the loss of life is often minimal, but the economic impact and the impact on property is much larger USAID has a significant disaster response and risk reduction program to work with the Indonesian counterparts, improve early warning systems for both volcanic eruptions, flash floods, forest fires, etc Go to the next slide This year is a La Niña year, and so that means we are looking at cooler water in the Pacific Ocean, and that means for Indonesia above normal rainfall So that means we are increased the risk of floods and wet landslides, but hopefully that means that the risk of forest fires will be less So you get a good and a bad With la Niña this year is increased rain Next slide Here are some resources that you can access – great tips, as we heard from Chris as well Jakarta has a 112 emergency call center that should be your first point of contact if you have an emergency here in Jakarta The national meteorological and geological agency, BMKG, has a website and mobile app that provides information and forecasts for weather-related events The ESDM is the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources They also have a website to track the status of active volcanoes, impact on eruptions, on air travel, because that’s what we’ve seen most often that a volcanic eruption will upset your travel plans And then finally, the one at the bottom there is the most important where the ready.gov – U.S. Department of Homeland Security That has a lot of the tips and go into more detail than what Chris has provided on preparing a Go Bag, getting ready, and what can you do as a person and your family Here in the Embassy, USAID is responsible for the engagement with the Indonesian counterparts in responding and preparing for disaster, and our colleagues in the Consular Section address questions and the needs of American citizens during a disaster If we can shift now and speak a little bit about the COVID-19 situation As you’ve all been very much aware, you can’t go anywhere in this globe and escape it Indonesia is now exceeding 250,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and almost 10,000 deaths I think, most recently, things are getting worse and not better Jakarta has recorded over 4,000 new cases every day in the past week or so, and this is really stretching the health facilities and the healthcare services So it’s not surprising that the Jakarta governor had to move back to the PSBB, the large-scale social distancing restrictions because the capacity at the hospitals – hospital beds – exceeded the threshold that the WHO thinks is prudent – over 80% So we’ve got to go back to doing what we know what to do to prevent the spread of the disease Go to the next slide We hear the talk about vaccines and there’s some trials that are going underway here in Indonesia, and there’s others that are in the United States, but this is not a short-term solution Right? You need to prepare yourself that this is going to be months, maybe a year away, before the majority of people have a workable vaccine In the meantime, we know what we need to do Wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep physical distance – six feet apart And again, another plug for the program to sign up

with the Consular service Stay in touch You’ll get the most information and up to speed Thank you I think we’ll take questions at the end There we go ERIC ALEXANDER: This concludes the presentations that we had today I hope that everyone has found those to be interesting I can certainly see there’s been a lot of active discussion on the chat, and I hope we’ve been able to answer many of your questions there, but I know they’ve also been taking questions for the panel So we’re now open for questions that people may have MODERATOR: Eric, our consular staff has been answering questions in the chat But a few questions from the survey that we received beforehand It is a census year and should Americans who live overseas fill out the census, and how would they do that if they should? ERIC ALEXANDER: So the short answer is that if you’re overseas, you’re not going to be counted in the census The U.S. census is a snapshot of who is in the country on census day, and so for Americans who live overseas, you don’t fill out the census and you’re not part of the census So that’s the short answer to that and that may disappoint some people, but that’s how it works MODERATOR: And can you remind us how citizens can get their ballots to us at the embassy? ERIC ALEXANDER: Right So again, the simplest way, here at the embassy, we have a ballot box, actually, right in front by the main entrance So if you come by, you can just let the guard know you want to put your ballot in the box, and they will have that there We go every day and pick the ballots up out of the box and send them on If you have other business, you’re coming in for a passport or something, you can also bring it into the Consular Section and we can take it there from you And again, just a reminder, if you live in a state where you can send your ballot back by fax or email, and you’re comfortable doing that, that’s a sure way, I think, to make sure your ballot does get back, so I recommend you do that But if you do need to mail it back, please feel free to do that, and you can also contact our consular agency on Bali for information about their ability to take your ballot there as well MODERATOR: One more Do we know when the embassy or consulate Surabaya will reopen for immigrant visa, non-immigrant visa, or notarial services? ERIC ALEXANDER: Right This is something that we’re continually evaluating Again, as I said before, the most important criteria for us is, when can we provide these services safely? So we look forward to being able to let you know as soon as we are able to resume these services and to provide them safely, but at this time, we are not able to provide those routine services As I said, we continue to review how we might be able to provide more limited services and slowly build up If somebody does have a true emergency, please do reach out and contact us, and we will do our best that we can to assist you with an emergency situation MODERATOR: Okay Eric, we’ve been answering questions in the chat I don’t think we have anything outstanding If people do have questions, they can always email to [email protected] and that’s monitored daily by our Consular staff So if that’s all, then, any closing remarks? ERIC ALEXANDER: With that, I’ll turn it back over to the Chargé HEATHER VARIAVA: Sure Well, thank you everyone for tuning in today It’s great to be with you virtually, even though we can’t be in person I’d just like to echo what Eric said You know, our goal is to be able to provide our regular services, both visas, immigrant visas, and other routine services, and we are constantly monitoring the situation to see if and when it will be safe to do so And we will certainly announce publicly when we are able to take more routine services – perform more routine services That’s certainly our goal I’d like to thank very much Chris Gu, our Regional Security Officer, and Ryan Washburn, our USAID Mission Director for talking about safety and security here in Indonesia As we all know, things can and do happen, and so being prepared and thinking about how you would respond in an emergency is very important And part of that preparedness is staying

in touch with us, here at the embassy and the consulates, through the SMART traveler enrollment program, or STEP, which you can find online, register there, and we will get regular notifications from the Consular section on anything related to – well, just about anything – you’ll get information about voting, or if there’s an emergency situation, we keep – we have a responsibility to keep our American citizens up to date And I also encourage you to follow us on our social media accounts – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook We do always publish our announcements there We are required to keep the American community up to date on the circumstances in Indonesia, and so that’s one of the ways we do it I would note that we continue to be at a level 4 travel advisory for Indonesia because of the pandemic, and that we don’t recommend travel at this time It’s still safer for everyone to be in their home base, which for many is in the United States, for some of us here in Indonesia So stay in touch with us if you are living in here in Indonesia, but if you’re visiting, we would urge people to consider returning home as the COVID situation continues to challenge us all And there continue to be restrictions and limitations placed by the government of Indonesia on entering and exiting Indonesia, as well as restrictions, as was mentioned, currently in Jakarta, aimed at trying to protect the population from COVID So please do pay attention to those announcements and regulations, and we will always advertise them as well to make sure citizens are aware So, with that, I would like to thank you all for joining us, and please stay in touch And we look forward to being able to welcome you back in person to the embassy sometime soon Thank you