Registering to vote and submitting a ballot is a straightforward process and can be done from anywhere in the world!
In order to vote in the November 2020 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens must have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF) in 2020. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must file a new FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter. Just follow these steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:
- 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.
- 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) (PDF). 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 (PDF) 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 online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.
Whether you request your ballot directly through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way for you to receive your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
- 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.
- 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, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or U.S. Embassy Tirana’s diplomatic pouch. Because the diplomatic pouch delivers mail directly to a U.S. sorting facility, you will need to place your ballots in postage-paid return envelopes, or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage, in order for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities.
If using the diplomatic pouch, please contact Tirana’s American Citizens Services section for guidance on the proper procedure. Please note that all visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening and you will not be permitted to bring electronic devices, including cell phones, inside the facility. Please note it can take up to six weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent by an embassy or consulate via diplomatic pouch. All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to keep this timeline in mind and submit their forms and ballots accordingly.
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 online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online and conduct general internet searches for news articles and other 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). To learn more about the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) other features, go to FVAP.gov.
We Are Here to Help: If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Tirana’s American Citizens Services office at ACSTirana@state.gov or by phone at +355-(0)-4224-7285.