As of August 28, 2020
Most states will allow their overseas voters to return their voted ballot by email, online, or fax, but if you vote in one of the following 20 states*, you must still return a ballot by POSTAL MAIL:
Arkansas (AR), Connecticut (CT), Georgia (GA), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Kentucky (KY), Maryland (MD), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New York (NY), Ohio (OH), Pennsylvania (PA), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Virginia (VA), Vermont (VT), and Wisconsin (WI)
Due to postal mail service disruptions in the US and abroad, if you vote in one of these states we strongly advise that you PROTECT YOUR VOTE and VOTE NOW with a Backup Ballot, and return it by mail right away. The Backup Ballot, also known as the FWAB (Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot), is a ballot especially for overseas absentee voters who have sent in a ballot request to use to help make sure their vote gets counted.
You can vote and mail back a Backup Ballot first while you wait for your official state ballot to arrive. Then when your official state ballot arrives, you can vote and mail that back too — it is not double-voting**. If your voted state ballot is received by your election officials in time, they will count it and ignore the Backup Ballot.
* As of August 28:
- WY voters may return a ballot either by email or by fax depending on their county — please check with your local election officials, or follow return instructions that will come with your official ballot.
- New Jersey voters may return a ballot by email or fax first but must still send in the original hardcopy ballot by postal mail at the same time.
- Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Emergency Election Directive for the General Election - all UOCAVA/FPCA voters may return their voted ballot electronically.
- Missouri has declared all Missouri voters overseas “inaccessible” and they are allowed to return their voted ballot by EMAIL.
- Vermont is allowing EMAIL return for Vermont voters voting from countries without functional postal mail systems. France is not one of these countries.
** Per 52 USC sec 20303(d): Second ballot submission; instruction to absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter. An absent uniformed services voter or overseas voter who submits a Federal write-in absentee ballot and later receives a State absentee ballot, may submit the State absentee ballot. See also DA FAQ; see also FVAP FAQ.
TO VOTE WITH THE BACKUP BALLOT NOW:
First, make sure you have already sent in a ballot request/registration this year. If you haven’t done this yet, do it now at votefromabroad.org.
- When filling out the FPCA form, be sure to ask to receive your ballot by EMAIL/ONLINE.
Then, go ahead and VOTE by returning a BACKUP BALLOT.
- You can fill it out online here -- just follow directions to vote, print, sign and return it to your election officials.
- You'll find more detailed information on the Backup Ballot here.
What is on your state ballot? You can look up a sample ballot here
Note: When filling in the Backup Ballot, you can also vote by Party (for example, you can write in “President - Democrat”).
- Note: When filling in the Backup Ballot, you can also vote by Party (for example, you can write in “President - Democrat”).
Once your state ballot is delivered, vote that too!
If you requested to receive your ballot by EMAIL/ONLINE, you will receive your ballot in your email inbox on or before September 19 (45 days in advance of the November 3 General Election.)
You can vote that ballot too and mail it back right away. If it arrives in time, your local election official will only count your official state ballot, and discard the Backup Ballot.
When mailing a ballot, you have the following options:
- Via local mail. Be sure to use sufficient international postage for your ballot. Consider sending via a method that can be tracked such as la lettre suivie internationale.
- Via US Embassy or Consular mail bag. American Citizen Services is accepting voting materials for the “diplomatic pouch” but this method is often much slower from France than local postal service, taking 3-4 weeks normally. Your mail MUST have correct US postage, or use a US-postage-paid envelope. (Get a printable US-postage-paid ballot envelope template, here.)
- Via international express courier. Those considering delivery by DHL, FedEx, UPS, Collissimo or Chronopost should first check with their local election official whether they can accept delivery via this method as proof of returning your ballot from overseas.
Make sure your vote is counted.
After you have voted, you can check with your local election officials to make sure that your ballot was received. Go to www.votefromabroad.org/states. Click on your voting state. Then scroll down to "Am I Registered" to find the contact information for your local election officials.
Have questions or need help?
You can send your questions via email to [email protected]. Or, while you are on the votefromabroad.org website, find the red bubble in the lower right hand corner to chat with an overseas voting expert at the helpdesk.