Here’s everything you need to know to vote in the 2022 Midterms from Guatemala
This is a midterm election year — all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 Senate seats, and 39 gubernatorial seats are up for grabs in November. U.S. citizens have the right to vote in primary and general elections, no matter where in the world they live! If you're a U.S. citizen, dual-national, or will be 18 on November 8, 2022, you have the right to vote from abroad in US elections — including in the November 2022 midterm elections.
To register to vote from abroad you must submit one form — the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). It doesn't matter if you were registered to vote before you left the U.S., how long you’ve lived outside the U.S., or if you've never resided in the U.S. at all. You have the right to vote!
The U.S. State Department recommends, “all U.S. citizens living abroad complete and submit a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) annually, to ensure you remain on your state’s voter rolls and to ensure your local election office has your up-to-date contact information.”
KEY POINTS FOR VOTING
Here is an overview of everything you need to know to vote from abroad:
1. Registering and/or requesting your overseas absentee ballot for the 2022 midterm elections
The first step is to request your ballot to vote from abroad. Go to votefromabroad.org to fill out your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) absentee ballot request — it takes 5-10 minutes! You must submit the FPCA absentee ballot request form to your local election office in the United States. Most states allow you to submit your FPCA directly from www.votefromabroad.org without the need to print it out. But some states require that you submit your completed form by email attachment, fax, or postal mail. State deadlines and submission methods can be found here.
If you're not registered to vote, the FPCA also serves as a voter registration form. Choose the option to receive ballots by email.
You should do this every year to ensure you remain on your state’s overseas voter rolls and to ensure your local election office has your up-to-date contact information. If it’s your first time voting from abroad, the FPCA registers you as an overseas absentee voter because the ballots of US citizens voting from abroad have special protections and are different from the standard absentee ballot.
If you have any questions while filling out your FPCA form, go to the Vote from Abroad FAQ section or type your question in the website's chatbox (red circle in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen). Or you can email us at [email protected]
2. Confirming your request has been accepted ☑️
After submitting your FPCA absentee ballot request, call or email your Local Election Official (LEO) to confirm they have received it and will be sending your ballot.
Your LEO's contact information is listed in the instructions generated when you fill out your FPCA form at Vote from Abroad. You can also look up their contact info here.
Most states provide a website where you can verify your voter status. To find your state's website, click here and scroll down to “Where Is My Ballot?"
3. Receiving your ballot
Your FPCA absentee ballot is not your standard absentee ballot back home! Thanks to the MOVE Act, all states must send FPCA-requested absentee ballots to overseas voters no later than 45 days before a federal election — this year that’s September 24, 2022.
And, if requested, all states must send overseas voters their ballot by email.
You don't need to wait for ballots to arrive on September 24. Guatemala has non-existent postal mail service, so you can send in a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as a Backup Ballot right NOW. All details about the Backup Ballot can be found here. If you do receive your official ballot after voting and sending in a FWAB, vote the official ballot, too. Your Local Election Office will count only one ballot, be it the FWAB or the official if arrives in time.
4. Your ballot hasn’t arrived?
Check your spam folder. Still no ballot? Contact your local election official here and confirm they’ve sent your ballot to you. Go to www.votefromabroad.org if you need to send in a new FPCA absentee ballot request form.
If you haven’t received your ballot by October 1 and your state requires postal mail return, we recommend you send in a FWAB as a Backup Ballot to make sure your vote gets to your state in time. All details about the Backup Ballot can be found here.
5. Voting your ballot 🗳️
It’s easy to get informed about candidates, ballot initiatives, and judicial candidates and important to vote your ballot completely. State and local races are critical in 2022!
The simplest way is to vote for Democrats straight down the ballot. Some elected positions do not list a party affiliation, 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
- Go to the League of Women Voters personalized ballot service
- Go to Ballotpedia - Example: google “Ballotpedia Arizona elections 2022”
- Google the candidate's name to find their campaign website
6. There are lots of ways to return your ballot!
Ballot return methods – by email, online, postal mail, fax – vary by state. Always return your ballot as quickly as possible, but especially if your state only allows postal mail return. Find your state's exact ballot return methods here.
If your state allows email, online upload or fax for ballot return, please use these options as they’re not subject to delay! Here is more information on fax submission.
If your state requires postal mail return, see info below on options from Guatemala
New Jersey Voters: Please note that New Jersey allows for email or fax returns, but requires that the ballot ALSO be sent by postal mail.
New York Voters: Here are instructions on How to fold the New York State General Election ballot.
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
International Postal Service: The Guatemala postal service, though open for business, is extremely unreliable for sending mail out of the country. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you should use an international professional courier service such as DHL, or return your voted ballot through the U.S. Embassy Guatemala’s diplomatic pouch. The diplomatic pouch provides free mail service from embassies and consulates to a U.S. sorting facility. You will need to place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes (which usually come with your ballot or you can download the envelope here) or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage, in order for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities.
(Remember! Only consider using any mail service if you cannot return your ballot electronically.)
The U.S. Embassy/Consulate diplomatic pouch: If using the diplomatic pouch, voting materials can be delivered to the U.S. Embassy through Cargo Expreso or Guatex or brought directly in person to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City – mailing gate, which is located at 7th Street “A” and 1st Avenue in Zone 10. The hours of acceptance are from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and 8:00am to 12:00pm on Fridays. Normal transit time from Guatemala to the United States is approximately two to four weeks. All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly.
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. Use a Back-up Ballot to make the diplomatic pouch deadline if your regular ballot hasn’t arrived. Find out more here.
(Remember! Only consider using any mail service mail if you cannot return your ballot electronically.)
If your state requires postal mail ballot return, the quickest option is to use a courier service.
DA Guatemala has arranged with DHL in Antigua a discount of %12 for ballots to be returned to the U.S. The normal fee is Q400 for a single envelope to the United States. For the 2022 midterms, DHL Antigua will charge clients sending ballot materials Q350.
Even with expedited courier services though, ballots still take several days to get to the United States. Please send your ballot as soon as possible! Do not wait! You should – and some states require you – ask for a postmark or date stamp to be placed on the outer envelope. Find out your state’s requirements here. We do not recommend booking or paying online with any courier service. You will not receive a postmark if you book or pay online.
(Remember! Only consider using any mail service if you cannot return your ballot electronically.)
7. Checking twice to prevent mistakes
When filling out and packaging your ballot, don't forget to review the instructions carefully. Don't let human error spoil your ballot!
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.
8. Confirming your ballot's arrival at your local election office in the United States
Once you've sent 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!
The easiest way to ensure your ballot has arrived is to go to "Track Your Ballot" on your state’s website. You can also look up your local election office's contact details here and contact them directly. They may be experiencing a high volume of calls, so you may need to be persistent to get through to someone.
9. Having trouble? Need help? 😕
10. Get your "I Voted from Guatemala" sticker
Thank you for voting! If you would like to print an “I Voted from Guatemala” sticker go here: