If you're a U.S. citizen or dual-national abroad, and will be 18 years old on November 8 this year, you have the right to vote from abroad in every U.S. election.
As a U.S. citizen, you can register to vote from abroad while living, working, or traveling overseas by submitting one form, the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). It doesn't matter if you were registered to vote before you left the U.S. or how long you have lived outside the U.S. (including if you've never resided there).
Below you'll find an overview of the entire process of voting from Chile including how to:
- Register and Request a Ballot
- Confirm and Receive a Ballot
- Vote and Return a Ballot
- Track a Ballot
Questions along the way? Contact [email protected] at any point!
1. Register to vote and request your ballot
Visit VotefromAbroad.org to fill out your absentee ballot request, also known as the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)— it only takes 5-10 minutes! If you're not registered to vote, the FPCA serves as a voter registration form as well. Be sure to choose the option to receive your ballot via email!
Every state has different submission rules and deadlines!
Your state’s can be found at Your State Rules and on the VotefromAbroad.org homepage.
If you have any questions while filling out the form, you can refer to FAQs, also on the homepage. If you don’t find your answer listed there, click the online Voter Help Desk’s red circle at the bottom right and type in your question. Or email: [email protected].
2. Confirm your request has been accepted and that you will receive a ballot
You should always verify with your local election official that you will be receiving a ballot. After you submit your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) request form, if they don’t send you a confirmation of receipt right away, call or email your local election official to verify they received it and will be sending a blank ballot to you. You can look up their contact information at Your State Rules.
The contact information is also listed in the instructions generated when you complete the FPCA on VotefromAbroad.org. Alternatively, most states provide a website where you can verify your voter status, although these sites can sometimes be outdated and are not aimed at abroad voters; You can find it by searching for "[state] verify voter registration."
By federal law pertaining to overseas voters, all states must send absentee ballots to overseas voters no later than 45 days before a federal election (MOVE Act).
---> Tip: For states requiring mail back ballots, you don't need to wait for ballots to come out on September 24. If you must mail back your ballot, we recommend sending in a Federal Write-In Ballot (FWAB) NOW as a backup! This allows you to use a quicker and more economical method of mail, courier, or embassy/consult delivery (see below in section 3). If you then receive your state’s complete official ballot in time to mail or courier it back, you can do so! Your FWAB ballot will be superseded by your state’s ballot - you will not be voting twice!
The FWAB is specifically for overseas voters who are concerned they won't receive their official ballot in time to return it by the deadline. All details about the Backup Ballot can be found in FAQs Here
When it's time for ballots to come and you don't see yours, check your spam folder - ballots can hide in there! If you still don't see it, contact your local election official and confirm they sent your ballot out. Remember, you can look up your local election oficial’s contact info at Your State Rules.
3. Vote and Return your ballot
Return your ballot ASAP via the easiest and quickest option available for your state!
Because ballot return methods vary by state, carefully check your state’s guidelines on return via online upload, email, fax, or postal mail at Your State Rules. If your state only allows postal mail return you must return your ballot as quickly as possible! See mail-return options below.
---> Tip: New Jersey Voters - Please note that New Jersey allows for email or fax returns, but also requires that the ballot be sent by postal mail as well.
---> Tip: New York Voters - Here are instructions on How to fold the New York State General Election ballot.
Returning your ballot via online upload or email
Bingo! If your state allows, these are the easiest, fastest options. Use these!
(Note that DA continually works with individual state representatives to promote legislation that would allow these option for all states. )
Returning your ballot via fax
If you don’t have a fax machine or international fax service isn’t easily available, you can use an Email-to-Fax service! The Federal Voter Assistance Program (FVAP) offers one free. Simply download an FVAP Transmission Cover Sheet; fill it out and EMAIL it along with your completed ballot to [email protected]; they will convert your email to a fax and fax it to your local election office as listed on your Cover Sheet.
Other free Email-to-Fax services are available online; two are:
HelloFax allows you to send up to 5 pages for free.
FAX.PLUS allows you to send up 10 pages for free.
Note: If you wait until too close to November 8th, the FVAP service will get busy and they won’t be able to guarantee your faxed ballot will arrive by your state’s deadline; it would then be best to use an alternate service.
Returning your ballot via mail
If your state requires postal mail ballot return, your options are :
Use your local post office IF you have reliable postal service in your area! and IF you are sending your ballot back early enough to allow time for delivery to your local election office in the states. Be sure to add international postage to your Postage Paid envelope.
Courier service is a more reliable and timely option, but of course more costly. For fees and locations nearest you, contact the offices listed:
Chilexpress: Website contact: https://www.chilexpress.cl/sucursales-servicio-courier-envios-carga-chile
UPS: Call center service, Santiago: 800-742587; Mon-Fri 8am-7pm.
DHL: Moneda 975, Santiago, 8320239, Región Metropolitana; +56 9 5005 6206
FedEx: Catedral 1017, P.º Puente 516, local 19, Santiago, 8320000, Región Metropolitana; +56 2 3252 3179
---> Tip: Family members whose ballots are in separate postage-paid envelopes and both addressed to the same local election office may use one courier delivery package.
Important: You must ask for a postmark or date stamp to be placed on the outer envelope when mailing using any service.
---> Tip: Check your state’s deadline for ballot return and count backwards to ensure timely delivery. The postmark date is important to ensure your ballot is counted!
---> Tip: Even with expedited courier services, ballots still take several days to get to the United States.
Diplomatic pouch delivery from the US Embassy in Santiago:
Voters in Chile can drop their ballots off at the U.S. Embassy at Av. Andrés Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago for free delivery via diplomatic pouch to the U.S. where it will then be routed to your local election office through the U.S. Post Office. Ballots must be placed in postage paid return envelopes, or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. domestic postage for delivery within the U.S. (postage from Chile to the United States is not required using this method). You can contact the embassy directly at: (56-2) 2330-3000.
Please note that all visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening and you may not be permitted to bring electronic devices, including cell phones, inside the facility.
Please note that it can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent through the embassy or consulate. All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly.
Due to time constraints, DA does not recommend using the diplomatic pouch after Oct. 3rd.
Regardless of how you send your ballot
---> Tip: Know that it is unlawful in some states for a second party to handle your voted ballot, even if it is sealed. To ensure lawful ballot return, you the voter, should place your voted ballot in the mail, provide to the courier, or hand in for the diplomatic pouch. Alternatively, contact [email protected] to find out if your state is one that disallows second party handling of voted ballots.
4. Track your ballot
Once you've mailed your ballot, follow up with your local election official to make sure that it arrived and will be counted. Nearly all states have online tracking services. To find your state's website, go to Your State Rules and scroll down to "Track Your Ballot." On the same web page, you can also look up your local election office's contact details and contact them directly. If they are experiencing an influx of calls or emails, you may need to remain persistent, but this can be the most direct and reliable way to track your ballot.
---> Tip: Know that voter error is the main cause of ballot rejection!
Having trouble? Need help?
We understand that the voting process from abroad can be confusing — that's why we're here to help. Send an email to [email protected]
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REVIEW OF KEY POINTS FOR VOTING
● Request your overseas ballot now! www.votefromabroad.org
● Check the option (on the request form) that your ballot be sent to you by email!
● Submit your request form online or by email, if your state allows; unfortunately, some states require you to mail your request.
● If your state allows you to return your voted ballot electronically – do it! (By email, upload, or fax).
● If your state requires you to mail back your ballot:
○ Request your ballot now so you’ll receive it on Sept 24 when counties start sending overseas ballots out (45 days before the election)
○ Download and vote your ballot immediately!
○ Use your embassy or consulate’s diplomatic pouch (by Oct 2nd) or use a courier service to send it back.
● Track your request form and your ballot.
● Questions? [email protected]
Need help scanning your ballot?
Watch this video on how to scan using your smartphone.
If you don't have a scanning app on your phone, you can use Adobe Scan mobile app for iPhone & Android