October 30, 2018

How To Vote Using a Back-up Ballot


Haven’t received your official Ballot yet? Concerned your official ballot won’t get to you in time to meet the ballot return deadlines?

Overseas voters can VOTE NOW using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (“FWAB” or Back-up Ballot)!

STEP I. Did You Send in Your Ballot Request Form (the Federal Post Card Application) for 2018?

If you vote in AZ, CO, ME, MN, MS, MT, OR, SC, UT or WA, you can skip this step. On the FWAB, you can check the box to submit your Ballot Request at the same time. (Go to Step II).

All other voters: Verify with your Local Election Official (LEO) that they received your Ballot Request form for 2018 and have sent out your official ballot. You can find the contact information on the State Voting Guide: www.votefromabroad.org/states

  • If your LEO has sent out your official ballot, but you are concerned you won’t receive it in time to meet the deadline to vote, send in a FWAB to preserve your vote. (Go to Step II). _You should also find out why you didn’t receive your official ballot in time, so you don’t have this problem next election. _
  • If your LEO hasn’t received your ballot request form–or you haven’t sent it in yet–go to www.votefromabroad.org to fill out your form and send it to your LEO right away. Then go to Step II. The deadline for the Ballot Request form is earlier than the deadline to submit a FWAB, but most states will accept it by Email or Fax.


STEP II. Fill out and Send in Your FWAB:

1 Go to this website and follow the prompts to Fill in the FWAB

2 The website should fill in the candidates for you to choose. But if it does not, you can write in the candidate’s name or just write in the political party. (If you are using the FWAB to vote in a Primary Election, you must write in the candidate’s name).

  • You can look up your Sample Ballot here: Sample_Ballot_Lookup Your Sample Ballot will show the candidates for each race in your jurisdiction.

3 Download the PDF Package containing your completed FWAB and Instructions.

4 Print out the completed FWAB, then follow the instructions carefully to SUBMIT the required materials to your LEO.

Return by Fax or Email: The Instructions will indicate if you may opt to send in your FWAB by Email or Fax. We recommend you do so to ensure it will be received by the deadline.

  • If your state only allows return by Fax (not Email) and you don’t have access to a fax machine, you can find free apps that will convert an email attachment to a fax. Search for “free fax apps for Android/Iphone”
  • Or you can use the DoD Fax service through the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). Email your ballot and any required supporting materials (including the transmission cover sheet) to [email protected]. FVAP will then fax your election materials to your LEO.

Return by Mail: If you choose–or if your state requires you–to return your FWAB by postal mail, please follow the instructions carefully. Two envelopes will be required: a “Ballot Security Envelope” (to hold your completed FWAB ballot) and the “Mailing Envelope” (to hold the supporting materials as well as the sealed Ballot Security envelope). If you wish, you can follow the instructions to download envelope templates to affix to blank envelopes. If you have your original Ballot Request form, include it in the “Mailing Envelope”.


*IMPORTANT: If you receive your official ballot after submitting your FWAB, you should complete and return your official ballot as well.

It’s okay–only one ballot per person will be counted. If both your FWAB and your official ballot arrive before the deadline, your FWAB will be discarded and only your official ballot will be counted.


This information was taken from https://www.votefromabroad.org/fwab/. If you have any questions contact [email protected] or [email protected]