Message for U.S. Citizens: Do This NOW If You Plan to Vote in November

If you plan to vote in the November 2020 elections it is important to request your absentee ballot as soon as possible.

If you live overseas and want to vote in the General Election, go to FVAP.gov to find your state’s deadline to request your ballot.

Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via https://www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter/registration-ballots.  You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives), including primaries and special elections, during the calendar year in which it is submitted.  Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must request your ballot each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world! Follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:

  1. Register to vote:  Start by confirming your voter registration with your state.  Some states require absentee voters to register annually, so you may need to re-register.  Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.
  2. Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov.  You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives), including primaries and special elections, during the calendar year in which it is submitted.  FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory.  FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.
    Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available.  This is the fastest way to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
    YOU CANNOT RECEIVE YOUR BALLOT AT THE U.S. EMBASSY IN DAKAR.
    DO NOT USE THE EMBASSY MAILING ADDRESS AS YOUR MAILING ADDRESS OR YOUR U.S. ADDRESS.
    The embassy cannot accept, forward, or deliver ballots addressed to you at the Embassy.
  1. Receive and Complete Your Ballot:  States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office, and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections.  Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.  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.

 

  1. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot:  Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically.  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, or through 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, drop off your signed and completed ballots in sealed, addressed envelopes bearing sufficient postage to the U.S. Embassy’s service entrance at the rear of the Embassy, in the drop box marked “BALLOTS.”  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.

Researching the Candidates and Issues:  Online Resources.  Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online or search the internet to locate articles and information. 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).

Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov.  If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S.

Remember, your vote counts!