How to vote from abroad in the US Election

Message from the US State Department

In many states, the voter registration deadline for the November 2016 elections is October 10.  FULL DETAILS STATE BY STATE HERE (list courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Club).

If you requested your absentee ballot and haven't received it from your State at least 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB is an emergency backup ballot. This backup ballot can be completed using the FWAB online assistant, by filling out the PDF or picking up a hard copy version from your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 

For some voters, this might mean their paper voter registration and absentee ballot request must reach their local election officials by October 10.  In order to vote in the November 2016 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2016.  Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA eachyear to ensure you are able to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter. 

If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2016 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon if you have not already received it.  If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request you should contact your local election officials in the United States or check the status of your registration via your state’s voter registration verification website. 

At this late date, the easiest and surest way to beat deadlines for sending voting materials to local election officials is through Royal Mail or an express delivery company.  You can also drop your completed ballots at the U.S. Embassy in London and the U.S. Consulates in Edinburgh and Belfast.  However, to ensure your ballot is delivered on time, it must be received no later than the following dates and times:

 

U.S. Embassy London: Wednesday, October 12 at 8:00 a.m.

U.S. Consulate Belfast:  Monday, October 10 at 12:00 p.m.

U.S. Consulate Edinburgh: Thursday, October 6 at 8:00 a.m.

 

If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy ­-- just follow these steps:

 

1.     Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

 

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall.  It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA.  Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.

 

The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible.  No matter which state you vote in, 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).  Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery.  The online voting assistant will generate a printableFPCA, which you can then print and sign.

 

2.     Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

 

Even at this late stage, it’s not too late to register to vote using the FPCA.  To ensure it is received in time, you can mail it directly to local election officials through Royal Mail or an express delivery company.  You can drop off your FPCA at the U.S. Embassy in London and the U.S. Consulates in Edinburgh and Belfast, but we cannot guarantee it will be received in time.

 

3.     Receive Your Ballot

 

After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection.  States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (on or around September 24) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA. 

 

4.     Return Your Ballot

 

As with the FPCA, you can mail your ballot directly to your local election officials at your own expense or drop it off at the U.S. Embassy in London or U.S. Consulate in Edinburgh or Belfast no later than the following dates and times:

 

U.S. Embassy London: Wednesday, October 12 at 8:00 a.m.

U.S. Consulate Belfast: Monday, October 10 at 12:00 p.m.

U.S. Consulate Edinburgh: Thursday, October 6 at 8:00 a.m.

 

Your Vote Counts

Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%.  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 (differs by state).

Be an educated voter.  Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues.   You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, and search the Internet to locate articles and information.

To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP's Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov).  FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.

If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Embassy London's Voting Assistance Officer at LondonVote@state.gov.