American Ex-Servicemen's Association
"All gave some; some gave all"
Voter Assistance Program
The Federal Voter Assistance Program is set up to guide the process for overseas US citizens to vote absentee in American elections. The absentee voting process is easy.
- Register to vote (if required)
- Request an absentee ballot at FVAP.gov
- Print, sign and send the request to your local election official
- Receive your absentee ballot
- Vote, sign and return the ballot to your State
Where is my "legal voting residence"?
For voting purposes, your "legal voting residence" can be the State or territory where you last resided prior to entering military service or moving overseas OR the State or territory that you have since claimed as your legal residence. Even though you no longer retain ties to that residence, the address determines your proper voting jurisdiction. If you have never lived in the US, you still may be able to claim the address of a US citizen parent, spouse or other relative. More - see the FVAP.gov Voting Residence Fact Sheet and Voting Residence FAQ.
Does my absentee ballot always count?
All authorized and properly completed ballots received by the due date must be counted. The results shown on election night are projections and are not official until all proper ballots are counted. A 1974 New Hampshire Senate election was decided by 2 votes, and the 2004 election for Washington State Governor was decided by just 133 votes. State officials must certify results only after counting all properly executed ballots.
How do I register to vote?
Under Federal Law [the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)], the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) registers you to vote and requests absentee ballots for a minumum of all federal elections in the current calendar year. State requirements can vary - some will include state and local ballots and some will continue the registration for longer periods.
Where do I get a FPCA?
You can get the FPCA either
Remember, either way, you'll need to send your completed and signed FPCA to your proper local election official. Be sure to leave enough lead time so that the election officials can process the application and address any questions with you before the elections. More - see the FVAP.gov FPCA Fact Sheet.
- online using the FVAP.gov online assistant to navigate specific State requirements and download a completed FPCA, or you may download a blank FPCA PDF file - or
- get a hardcopy from a Voter Assistance Officer or your American Consulte
When will I receive my absentee ballot?
Election officials are required to send absentee ballots 45 days before an election to those who have resgistered and requested a ballot for that election. Know the deadline - the deadlines are set by each state. (the Online Assistant can lead you to these dates.)
What if I don't receive my absentee ballot?
If you have not received a ballot from your State at least 30 days before the election you can vote in the upcoming election using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB is a write-in backup ballot that can be completed for the election. The backup FWAB can be easily completed by using the FWAB online assistant, filling out the PDF or picking up a hardcopy version from your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate location. The assistants will guide you through the questions on the form and produce a printable form for you. More - see the FVAP.gov FWAB Fact Sheet.
Visit the Federal Voter Assistance Program website for answers to a number of questions, detailed state requirements, deadlines and copies of the forms.
Federal Voter Assistance Program
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