Voting in U.S. Elections from Abroad
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is the official U.S. government website for overseas voters. They provide information on registering absentee for U.S. elections, as well as details of upcoming elections, registration dates and deadlines.The Department of State also maintains comprehensive information for U.S. citizens abroad who wish to vote in U.S. elections, which is available on their website.
To vote from abroad, you have to register to vote with local election officials in your state of legal (voting) residence, AND every year you have to request to receive absentee ballots. You can begin the registration process at the FVAP website.
IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR OVERSEAS VOTERS WHO CANNOT ACCESS STATE ELECTION WEBSITES
October 18, 2018 — Alexandria, Va. — The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) has become aware of reports that some overseas voters are unable to access their state’s online voter registration and election systems. This is primarily due to states blocking web traffic from foreign countries in an effort to increase the cybersecurity of their online systems.
Since the General Election on Nov. 6 is less than 30 days away, FVAP encourages overseas voters to return their voted ballot now. If the state website to register to vote or access your ballot cannot be reached, contact your state’s election office for help. Also, FVAP.gov is always available to voters regardless of global location. The FVAP.gov site includes contact information for local election officials, registration and voting deadlines for all states, as well as a list of international toll-free numbers that can be used to contact FVAP. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have already requested but have not received a state ballot or cannot access your state website to download your ballot, go to FVAP.gov and use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which all states accept as an official backup ballot for federal offices. FVAP offers an interactive online tool that helps you fill out the FWAB. It saves time and improves accuracy by using your registration address to list all candidates for federal offices for that jurisdiction. After filling out the backup ballot, you must print, sign and send it to your election office using the instructions provided.
If you receive your state ballot after submitting the FWAB, you may vote and return the state ballot as well. The state will only count one ballot if both are received by the deadline.
FVAP is working with states to determine how to best address cybersecurity concerns while ensuring access to key election information and processes for our military, their families, and overseas citizens.
If you’d like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process, please visit FVAP.gov for live chat assistance; call FVAP at 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN at (425) 1584 (CONUS)/(312) 425-1584 (OCONUS); or email email@example.com. Service members: Remember, you also can contact your unit or installation voting assistance officers. And don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter.
Last Minute Voting
U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not polling stations – and you cannot attend on election day to cast your vote. We are here to answer your questions about voting from abroad, and assist with forwarding your voting materials to your local electoral office in the United States.
If you have registered to vote but not received your ballot 30 days before the election, or you haven’t registered but would still like to vote, please refer to your State-specific instructions and complete a FWAB if appropriate.
VOTING IN 2018 U.S. ELECTIONS
Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for house and senate seats have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2018 U.S. elections:
- Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2018 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2018 elections. 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. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
You can complete the FPCA online at www.FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.
- 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. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.
- Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot by email or fax. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can use international mail, a courier service such as FedEx or DHL, or you may also drop off completed voting materials during regular business hours at the U.S. Consulate General in Auckland, Level 3, Citibank Building, 23 Customs Street East or the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, security booth, Haswell Street (off Murphy Street) between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Place your materials in a postage paid return envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials. NOTE: The deadline for drop-offs at the U.S. Consulate in Auckland is 12pm, Friday the 12th of October, and for the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, Monday the 15th of October by 2pm (Ballots can be accepted after these dates and will be postmarked, but delivery by November 6th is not guaranteed). Ballots not sent to local election officials by our consulate shipment deadline? If you wish to participate in this election and have not yet sent your ballot to your local election officials by our consulate drop off deadline listed above, you should consider returning your ballot to the United States via an express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL or electronically if allowed by your state. Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before November 6th prior to payment and shipment. Check your state’s voting procedures at www.FVAP.gov for guidance.
- New this year – email to fax service by FVAP! – the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will provide an email-to-fax conversion service for voters who have difficulty sending election materials to States that do not accept emailed documents. Get more information here.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.
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. Consulate General Auckland’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteAuckland@state.gov
Remember, your vote counts!
Be absent but accounted for!