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.
For information about how to drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials through the U.S. Embassy and its Consulates, please see the Embassy’s below voting message: https://tr.usembassy.gov/message-for-u-s-citizens-absentee-voting-week/
Register and request your ballot by your state’s deadline. You can use FVAP’s easy online assistant at www.fvap.gov/FPCA to walk you through each section of the form. After you finish filling out the FPCA, print it, sign it, and send it to your election office. Most states accept the FPCA by email or fax while some require it by mail. Check your state-specific guidelines at FVAP.gov.
Once you receive your requested absentee ballot, vote and return it as soon as you get it. Remember to carefully follow the instructions, especially if a “security envelope” is required, and sign the package as indicated when returning it.
To save time, send voted ballots electronically if allowed by state law. Voters can check if their state accepts completed absentee ballots by email, fax, or via an online portal at FVAP.gov/guide.
If a requested ballot has not arrived, use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) immediately at www.fvap.gov/FWAB. It works like a backup ballot. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, complete and send in the official ballot, too. Only one will be counted.
Make sure the voted ballot is received by your state. Go to FVAP.gov, click on your state and then the “check the status of your voted ballot” button.
To find your state’s election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices, visit our contact page. You can also reach out directly to your election office for status updates on your registration and absentee ballot.
COVID-19 ELECTION UPDATE – FVAP is working closely with state election offices, the Military Postal Service Agency and other federal agencies to bring you up-to-date information on possible mailing delays. Please visit FVAP.gov/COVID-19 for the latest information on any international postal disruptions or contact your installation military post office.
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!