Absentee Voting Week is September 27-October 4
Be an active voter by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections and participating in Absentee Voting Week!
In some states, voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2020 election are as early as October 5th. Whether you are a first–time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) each year 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 2020 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 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.
You can get voting assistance or drop off your completed voting forms and ballots at the Embassy’s American Citizens Services unit on any business day, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (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. All visitors to the Embassy are required to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth. Please do not come to the Embassy if you are ill.)
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, please plan on at least 30 days or more for mail to reach its destination if sent via the Embassy’s diplomatic pouch. If it’s more convenient for you, you can send your FPCA or ballot directly to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
Help Spread the Word about Overseas Voting
Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot. Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.
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, we recommend that you 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 printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.
2. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
If your state does not allow you to submit your FPCA electronically, you can drop off your FPCA in person at the Embassy to be sent to your state’s election officials via diplomatic pouch.
If it’s more convenient for you, you can have a friend or family member drop off your FPCA at the Embassy on your behalf, or you can send your FPCA or ballot directly to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
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 (September 19) 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
We recommend that if you plan to return your paper ballot to your election officials via the U.S. Embassy, please return your ballot to them by October 2 to account for transit times between overseas posts and local voting districts. If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a postage-paid envelope or envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. You can download the postage paid envelope from the FVAP.gov website.
If using the diplomatic pouch, ballots can be dropped off at the Embassy’s American Citizens Services unit on any business day, Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (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. All visitors to the Embassy are required to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth. Please do not come to the Embassy if you are ill.)
If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot, too. Only one will be counted.
After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.
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.
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Warsaw’s Voting Assistance Officer at +48 22 504 2784, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.