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Message for U.S. Citizens: Requesting and Mailing Election Materials
September 8, 2020

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

Follow a few simple steps – register, request, receive, return – to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections: 

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. 

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).   

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.   
**Please do not use the U.S. Embassy mailing address as your mailing address or your U.S. address.  You cannot receive your ballot at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar.**  

Receive and Complete Your Ballot:  States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office.  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. 

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. 

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!