An official website of the United States government

Message for U.S. Citizens: Received Your Absentee Ballot? Here’s How to Return it to the United States
September 21, 2020

Mail your ballot early if you plan to vote in the November 2020 election! 

Many states have begun sending absentee ballots by email or other electronic means.  If you’ve received yours, you should return it as soon as you are able. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through:

  • international mail; 
  • professional courier service (DHL, Fed Ex, etc.);
  • or the U.S. Embassy Dakar’s diplomatic pouch.

The diplomatic pouch provides mail service from embassies and consulates to a U.S. sorting facility. You must place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage in order for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. sorting facility. Ballots with insufficient postage cannot be sent onward.

If you plan to use the diplomatic pouch, ballots may be dropped off  at the U.S. Embassy’s service entrance at the rear of the Embassy, Monday – Thursday from 7:30 – 18:30 and Fridays from 7:30 – 14:30. 

You may drop off your signed and completed ballot in a sealed, addressed envelope bearing sufficient postage in the drop box marked “BALLOTS.”   

Send your ballot as soon as you are able – do not wait! It can take four to six weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent by an embassy or consulate via diplomatic pouch.  All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots as early as possible.  Ballots will be post-marked as of the date received at the Embassy and sent to the United States regularly, but you may want to consider using a courier service if submitting your ballot close to or after the stated delivery time for pouch mail.

If you haven’t received your blank ballot 30 days before the election, don’t wait any longer, use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote.

For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).

Visit our website for more details.  Remember, your vote counts!