Message for U.S. Citizens: Absentee Voting

Celebrate democracy this 4th of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections!

All U.S. citizens can receive their blank ballots electronically. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter. Depending on the state in which you are eligible to vote, you may get your ballot by email, fax, or internet download.

Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world! See our video for a how-to vote absentee featuring Istanbul’s Consul General Daria Darnell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsdHn6qb3jM.

Or 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot:  Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so by mailing it internationally from your local post office or by utilizing a professional courier service.  If you prefer to send your ballots through the U.S. Embassy in Ankara or U.S. Consulate General Istanbul, please note the information below.   

Be advised that a disruption in transatlantic flights limits the Embassy/Consulate’s ability to ensure timely mail service for election materials.  If you prefer to mail your election materials through the Embassy/Consulate, please keep in mind it may take longer than usual to arrive at its intended destination in the United States.  If mailed through the Embassy/Consulate, ballots must be placed in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. domestic postage so they may be delivered to the proper local election authorities (NOTE: postage from Turkey to the United States is not required using this method).

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the U.S. Mission in Turkey is no longer allowing walk-ins for absentee ballot drop off.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to election officials and you prefer to do this through the U.S. Mission in Turkey, you can contact us at VoteIstanbul@state gov to schedule an appointment to drop off your absentee ballot at the U.S. Consulate General Istanbul, Ankara-ACS@state.gov to drop off your ballot at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, or CA-Adana@state.gov to drop off your ballot at the U.S. Consulate Adana.

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).

Additionally, please find an updated Elections Calendar with the Presidential and State Primary election dates for your convenience and monitor the Embassy website for updates regarding absentee voting and non-resident voting:  https://tr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/voting/.

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