Remember U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States!
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?
Go to the Overseas Citizen Voter section of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website for specific information about voting in your state of residence, including deadlines for registration, requesting and returning ballots. Some states permit electronic or email submission of a ballot while others request the submission of a written ballot.
Steps to Register as a 2020 Overseas Voter:
- Request Your Ballot:
Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1 to ensure you receive your ballot for that year’s elections. Completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, Senate, and 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. 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, or contact your Voting Assistance Officer.
- 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:
Unfortunately, due to the recent security alert, it is no longer possible to drop off your ballots at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Turkey.
If allowed by your state, return your ballot by email or fax. If your state requires that you return your ballot by mail, send it via a courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL, and address it to the relevant local election officials. Please also check your state’s instructions for envelopes. Ballots must be mailed in sealed and addressed envelopes. FVAP.gov has envelope templates to download and print. Voters who returning ballots by mail should confirm delivery on or before November 3 prior to payment and shipment. Check your state’s voting procedures at www.fvap.gov for guidance.
- 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 online here.
Never received a ballot? If you registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot prior to your state’s registration deadline, but have not yet received your ballot, complete and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to ensure your vote reaches election officials by your state’s deadline. If your regular ballot arrives later, complete and return it as well. Your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot will only be counted if your regular ballot does not reach local election officials by your state’s deadline. Your vote will not be counted twice.
Need Assistance with Absentee Voting? Check out FVAP Virtual Voting Assistance!
The Federal Voting Assistance Program is offering recurring virtual voting assistance via Zoom for the next two weeks to provide direct support to overseas citizens. Voters can participate in any of the meetings and speak with an FVAP voting Ambassador who can answer questions about absentee voting, including inquiries about the FPCA and FWAB forms. Voters can also use the chat to write their questions for the FVAP representatives. None of these sessions will be recorded nor will they be uploaded to social media. These office hours are intended to support those voters who are not able to call us during FVAP’s regular business hours.
Every Wednesday at 6:00 AM EST (converted time = Istanbul 1:00 PM)
FVAP Representative: Sean
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89965798879?pwd=MHJnbDhWZzQrTDNKNFowL0dPTnFWUT09
Meeting ID: 746 356 6929
Pass code: 234960
Every Thursday at 7:00 AM EST (converted time = Istanbul 2:00 PM)
FVAP Representative: Kayla
Zoom Link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/9750035128?pwd=TFZnTHd2dkR6YVhxbWNlcVB2Vy9BUT09
Meeting ID: 975 003 5128
Pass code: 28Xx2X
Watch our videos about voting:
- Overseas Voters: Return Your Ballots Now (October 15, 2020)
- Overseas Informational Video (August 24, 2020)
- Ambassador Satterfield’s Message to American Citizens Voting in Turkey (July 22, 2020)
- Consul General Darnell Explains How to Vote from Overseas (July 6, 2020)
Read our prior updates and alerts about voting:
- Drop off your ballots no later than October 15
- Don’t let the elections pass you by!
- American Citizen Services Newsletter – September 2020
- Watch our new overseas voting informational video
- Submit your voting questions to our Voting Assistance Officers
- Absentee Voting 2020
You can find more information below. Please monitor this website for updates regarding absentee voting.
Timeline of the absentee voting process:
|1||Register and request an absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) –||January of each year|
|2||Receive your absentee ballot from your State election office –||45-30 calendar days before the election|
|3a & 3b||Return your State absentee ballot to your State;
If you do not receive your State absentee ballot, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) –
|As soon as you receive it|
|NOTE:||If you are at sea or at other overseas locations without access to the military postal system you should send your voted ballots to your election office –||35 calendar days before the election|
|NOTE:||If you are at an overseas military installation with access to the military postal system you should send your voted ballots to your election office –||30 calendar days before the election|
|NOTE:||If you are a stateside Uniformed Service member or an eligible family member you should send your voted ballots to your election office –||11 calendar days before the election|
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.
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov
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.
Remember, your vote counts!