October 14, 2023

How to Vote From Portugal

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: You should return your ballot as soon as possible after you receive it. For information on how to return your ballot, please go here: How To Send Your Ballot Home From Portugal

Participation among overseas voters has historically been low, often due to the perceived complexity of voting from abroad or a sense of detachment from domestic issues.

However, every vote counts, especially in tight races that can be decided by a narrow margin. Policies regarding gender equality, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, climate change, economic reform, and foreign policy are just some areas where your input can make a significant difference.

What’s at Stake if You Don’t Vote

When gender equality, LGBTQ rights, women's rights, and racial equality are negatively impacted in America, it has a ripple effect on the rest of the world. The United States is often seen as a leader in promoting and protecting human rights, and when these fundamental rights are threatened within its borders, it sends a message to other countries that it is acceptable to discriminate against marginalized groups.

Furthermore, America's influence in global politics and economics means that any regression in terms of gender equality, LGBTQ rights, women's rights, and racial equality can have far-reaching consequences. For instance, issues such as the gender pay gap or discrimination against the LGBTQ community can affect trade relations with other countries. It also undermines efforts towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals of promoting equality and inclusivity worldwide.

Moreover, negative impacts on these rights within America can embolden oppressive regimes around the world to justify their actions by pointing to similar policies or attitudes in the US. This perpetuates a cycle of discrimination and inequality that affects millions of individuals globally. It also hinders progress towards creating a more just and equitable world for all.

If you have any questions, please contact the Portugal DA leadership at [email protected]

How to Vote from Portugal

If you are a U.S. citizen (including dual-national) living abroad, you have the right to vote from abroad in the 2024 Presidential election and every election. If you are or will be 18 on Election Day, you can vote in the upcoming elections.

Step 1: Register to vote and request your ballot

To vote from outside the U.S., you first need to register as an overseas voter. This can be done easily through the Vote From Abroad website (https://www.votefromabroad.org/) where you can fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). This form serves both as a registration and a ballot request form. Remember, deadlines vary by state, so it's crucial to submit your FPCA as early as possible. And, given the continuing uncertainty surrounding the United States Postal Service (USPS), ask for your ballot to be delivered by email.

Step 2: Receiving and Submitting Your Ballot

Once registered, you will receive your ballot electronically or by mail, depending on your state and your preference indicated in the FPCA. After filling out your ballot, you can return it via email, fax, or postal mail. Some states allow electronic return, while others require physical ballots, so check the specific requirements for your state. 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 or type your question in the website's chat box (red circle in the bottom right-hand corner). Or email [email protected]

Step 3: Confirm your ballot request was accepted and you'll receive a ballot ☑️

Always verify with your local election official (LEO) that you will be receiving a ballot. After you send in your FPCA request form, call and/or email your LEO to verify they received it and will be sending a blank ballot to you. Your LEO's contact information is listed in the instructions generated when you complete the FPCA on Vote from Abroad. You can also look up their contact info here.

Step 4: Receive your ballot 📧

Under the MOVE Act, all states must send absentee ballots to overseas voters no later than 45 days before a federal election.

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 LEO and confirm they sent your ballot out. You can look up their contact info here. You may need to send in a new ballot request form, just go to www.votefromabroad.org.

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.

Step 5: Information about candidates, ballot initiatives, and judicial candidates 🗳️

It’s very important to vote your ballot completely. The simplest way is to vote for Democrats straight down the ballot. Some elected positions do not have a party affiliation directly associated with the party, like school boards, judges, and others. To determine who to vote for in those cases, you can do the following:

  • Google your county's local Democratic Party
  • League of Women Voters offers a personalized ballot service at http://www.vote411.org/ballot. You can learn where candidates running for office in your community stand on the issues. You can print or email the information to use as a reference when you vote.

Step 6: Return your ballot 🗳️

Once you've received your ballot, fill it out and return it immediately. Ballot return methods vary by state (online, email, postal mail, 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.

Regardless of how you send in your ballot, remember that you (the voter) must be the one who places it in the mail. In some states, it is unlawful for any other person to handle your voted ballot, even if it is sealed.

And when filling out your ballot and packaging your ballot, don't forget to review the instructions carefully. Don't let human error spoil your ballot!

Step 7: Confirm your ballot's arrival at your local election office in the United States

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".

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].