November 3, 2020 is Election Day. Are you ready to vote?
All overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.
Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world!
Follow this step-by-step guide to Absentee Voting to exercise your right to vote, even when you are not in the United States!
1. Register to vote: Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually, so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.
2. Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives), including primaries and special elections, during the calendar year in which it is submitted. FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.
Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
3. 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. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
4. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, then the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate can assist you. Place your ballot in a postage-paid return envelope (a template is available at www.FVAP.gov) or in an envelope addressed to the relevant local election officials and bearing sufficient U.S. postage to cover domestic shipment from Washington, D.C. to your local election office. If you bring your FPCA or ballot to U.S. Embassy Bandar Seri Begawan, we will mail it for you without requiring you to pay for international postage. To calculate the correct domestic postage or print a mailing label, please see the U.S. Postal Service website at www.USPS.com. Please note international mail sent through the U.S. Embassy takes about four weeks for delivery. Your ballot will require up to three weeks to get to Washington, D.C. through the diplomatic pouch and another week to reach your local election officials. If it is more convenient for you, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to 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. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Bandar Seri Begawan’s Voting Assistance Officer at (673) 238-7500 or ConsularBrunei@state.gov.
Remember, your vote counts!