Absentee Voting Overview
Overseas citizen voters face a specific set of challenges while voting absentee. Here we will provide you the information and contacts you need to successfully cast an absentee ballot.
FVAP aims to make the absentee voting experience as easy as possible with straight-forward online assistants and answers to frequently asked questions. Regardless of where you are, it is important to note there are people and resources available to assist you when applying to register to vote and voting absentee.
Getting Started with the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
Most States require you to complete an absentee ballot application to start the absentee voting process. FVAP encourages the use of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to start the absentee voting process as it is standardized for use across all States and will extend your eligibility to receive a ballot for all Federal elections for at least one calendar year. The FPCA acts as both a registration and absentee ballot request form. FVAP encourages overseas citizen voters to submit a new FPCA every year and when they move.
It only takes a few quick steps to make sure your vote is counted no matter where you are in the world. The FPCA can be easily completed by using the FPCA online assistant, filling out the PDF or picking up a hardcopy version from your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate location.
- Complete and sign the FPCA using your State's instructions. Find your state's instructions here.
- Fold and seal your FPCA. If using the online FPCA, print, sign and put it in an envelope. You qualify for free postage if you use the approved envelope template.
- Address and mail the FPCA to your local election official. Be sure to include your return address and affix postage if using a foreign postal service.
Pressed for time? Download the FPCA now and take it with you.
Haven't Received Your 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 and will also provide a postage-paid envelope so you don't have to worry about finding stamps!
- Complete and sign the FWAB's Voter Declaration/Affirmation using your State's instructions. Find your state's instructions here.
- Vote the ballot by writing in a candidate or party name. Detach the ballot from the security envelope, fold it, insert it into the security envelope, and seal. If using the online FWAB, use a separate blank envelope and write "Security Envelope" on it.
- Fold and place the completed Voter Declaration/Affirmation and the sealed security envelope into the accompanying "Mailing Envelope." Seal. If using the online FWAB, use your own envelope as the Mailing Envelope. You may print postage paid insignia on your envelope by using the envelope template available here.
- Address and mail the FWAB to your local election official. Be sure to include your return address, and affix postage if using a foreign postal service.