If you're a U.S. citizen or dual-national abroad, you have the right to vote from abroad in the 2024 Presidential Election. If you are or will be 18 years old on November 5, 2024, you can vote in the upcoming elections.
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 Spain 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? Here to help!
Contact [email protected] at any time with your questions on any stage of the process.
Before you begin ...
Please note! If your state requires you to mail in (vs fax or email) your voted ballot - check your state requirements here - then make sure to factor enough postal or courier time to meet the deadline. Ensure your voted ballot becomes a counted ballot.
1. Register to vote and request your ballot
Visit www.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 also serves as a voter registration form. Given the uncertainty surrounding postal service, we strongly encourage you to request that your absentee ballot be sent via email.
|Watch a video on how to use www.votefromabroad.org Watch Here
Every state is different! State deadlines and submission methods can be found here.
If you have any questions while filling out the form, you can also always refer to Vote from Abroad's FAQ section here. Type your question in the website's chat box (red circle in the bottom right-hand corner), or send an email to [email protected].
2. Confirm your request has been accepted and that you will receive a ballot
Confirm your 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 request form, 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 info here.
The contact information is also listed in the instructions generated when you complete the FPCA on Vote from Abroad. Alternatively, most states provide a website where you can verify your voter status, although these sites can sometimes be outdated. To find your state's website, click here and scroll down to "Am I Registered?".
Receive your ballot
All states must send absentee ballots to overseas voters no later than 45 days before a federal election (MOVE Act.) This year: September 21, 2024.
---> Tip: For states requiring mail back ballots, you don't need to wait for ballots to come out on September 21. If you must mail back your ballot, we recommend you send in a Backup Ballot NOW.
The Backup Ballot (the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot or 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 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, please contact your local election official and confirm they sent your ballot out. You can look up your local election official’s contact info here.
If you don't have your ballot by October 1 and you must mail it back, we recommend you send in a Backup Ballot to make sure your vote gets to your state in time. All details about the Backup Ballot can be found here.
3. Vote and Return your ballot
Once you've received your ballot make sure to read the instructions carefully on where to sign and how to fill-in bubbles / boxes or writing in a candidate name.
*** Return your ballot ASAP ***
Ballot return methods vary by state
Carefully check your state’s guidelines on return via online, email, postal mail and/or fax. Especially if your state only allows postal mail return — which is the case in many swing states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin — you must return your ballot as quickly as possible.
Check your state's exact ballot return methods here. If your state allows email or fax ballot returns, please use these options as they’re not subject to delay. Here is more information on fax submission.
---> 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, too.
---> Tip: New York Voters - Here are video instructions on How to fold the New York State General Election ballot.
Returning your ballot via mail
If your state requires postal mail ballot return, the best options are:
- If you have time, mail your ballot by regular mail through Correos, the Spanish mail system. This is the cheapest option, but can often be slow and timely delivery is NOT guaranteed.
- Correos also provides express international mail options. The Paquete International Premium option, which guarantees delivery date and allows tracking, is recommended. Check Correos Spain Abroad here
- There are various private mail carriers operating from Spain. For a comparison of several options see https://www.packlink.es/envios-a-america-del-norte/
- Additional carriers include FedEx Spain here and DHL Spain here.
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.
Returning your ballot via diplomatic pouch:
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 through the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, or the Consular Agencies in Spain:
- If you are sending your ballot through the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, ballots can be dropped off at the American Citizen Services unit between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., except for U.S. and local holidays
- If you are sending your ballot through the U.S. Consulate General Barcelona, ballots can be dropped off at the Consulate General between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., except for U.S. and local holidays.
- If you are sending your ballot through one of the U.S. consular agencies, send an email to the agency located closest to you to schedule an appointment.
- A list of U.S. and local holidays during which our offices are closed is available here.
Please be aware that using the diplomatic pouch does not mean your ballot will arrive faster. It can take up to four weeks for the mail to reach its final destination. Therefore, we do not recommend using the diplomatic pouch after October 5th.
---> Tip: Regardless of how you send in your ballot, remember that you (the voter) must be the one who places it in the mail (or hands it over to the diplomatic pouch). In some states, it is unlawful for any other person to handle your voted ballot, even if it is sealed.
---> Tip: And when filling out your ballot and packaging your ballot, remember to review the instructions carefully. Don't let human error spoil your ballot!
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. Please do not just assume that your ballot has made it! Nearly all states have online tracking services. To find your state's website, click here 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 try contacting them directly. They are experiencing an influx of calls, so you will likely need to remain persistent to get through to someone.
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]
Or, a one-on-one live voter help is just a Zoom away! Click in to ZoomTheVote, hosted and staffed by experienced VoteFromAbroad voter helpers, from anywhere in the world. Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon-4pm ET and Sundays from 11am-3pm ET. Link to join is here: https://qrco.de/bbh0zg Please share widely!
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