Geo-Blocked Voter Information Pages: Why It’s Happening and How You Can Fix It


Have you tried to access your state’s voter information pages, only to be met with a “Page Not Found” error message? You’re not alone! Some states are “geo-blocking” web traffic from outside the USA, which means access to voter registration, ballot status and other critical information will be denied if you’re using a foreign IP address. 

The solution: Use a VPN

These “firewalls”, intended to improve website security, are keeping U.S. citizens living abroad from accessing critical voter information. You can safely (and legally!) get around this by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN works by routing your device's internet connection through a private server rather than your internet service provider (ISP), so that when your data is transmitted to the internet, it comes from the “location” of the VPN rather than your computer. In this case, you’ll want to use a VPN located in the U.S. to access these blocked pages.

The easiest way to do this is to use a web browser that includes a VPN, such as Opera.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Download the Opera web browser: https://www.opera.com/ . It should automatically detect if you’re using a Mac or PC.

  2. After installing and launching Opera, go to the “Opera” dropdown on the top left of your screen and select “Preferences”.




  3. In the Settings window, scroll down to “Advanced” click it, then scroll to “VPN”. Click the slider button to enable VPN.




  4. When VPN is enabled, you’ll see a small button appear in your search bar. Clicking that will open a new window where you can select the virtual location of your VPN. Choose “Americas” from the dropdown list.

 

If you need a hand with this or have other questions regarding the VPN setup, we’re here to help! Contact the Voter Protection team at voterprotection@democratsabroad.org, or drop by the Voter Assistance Zoom Help Desk, available every Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday (12-4pm US Eastern) and Sunday from midnight to midnight, Eastern Daylight Time.

Let us know about your experience

It’s crucial for our ongoing voter protection work to document the technical issues facing overseas voters. Please help us compile this data here: Geoblocked Voter Webpage Tracker

When using the form, be sure to note the URLs of the blocked pages, and if possible include screenshots of the error message you received. Thank you for your time and efforts!

Questions or feedback? Contact voterprotection@democratsabroad.org