We are now entering the most critical weeks in the most critical election of our lifetimes! This blog post contains important guidance to help make sure you successfully vote in this year’s election.
Step 1: If you haven't yet in 2020, register and request your ballot by following the instructions at www.votefromabroad.org. We highly recommend voters request to receive ballots via email.
Step 2: Send an email to or call your Local Election Office (LEO) to make sure they confirm you have requested your absentee ballot. Don’t know your LEO? Follow the prompts at https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/ to find yours!
Step 3: Prepare to receive your ballot via email from now until "Ballot Day", September 19. Local election offices are required to send voters their ballots by that date (at least 45 days before the election). Some voters are already starting to receive their ballots now (in early September). If you do not get it, contact your LEO immediately and also email us to help ([email protected]). Make sure to check your spam folder.
Step 4: Have a plan in place to submit your ballot. We can provide the following guidance on HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR BALLOT in the UAE:
Each state has different requirements in place for returning ballots - email/online/fax/mail. Please use the fastest method that your state allows. Find out your state’s options by checking for your state at https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/ or check this table that is maintained by Democrats Abroad: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1r3OLzaextfxdZm_mR-SR6CYIjxSRYtR_Tf8J9R1HA90/edit#gid=0. The spreadsheet table and the VoteFromAbroad website are both kept up-to-date
- Many states allow an EMAIL/ONLINE ballot submission: AL, AZ, CO, DC, DE, HI, IA, IN, KS, MA, ME, MS, MT, MO, NC, NJ, ND, NE, NM, NV, RI, OR, SC, UT, WA, WV, and WY. If you vote in one of these states, you should be all set! Follow the instructions you get and submit your ballot via email or online.
- Some states allow FAX returns: AK, CA, FL, LA, OK, WY. There are downloadable apps that allow you to send a document via fax.
- Twenty states still require you to MAIL your completed ballot: AR, CT, GA, ID, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, and WI. If you vote in one of these states here are your options:
1. U.S. Embassy or Consulate: The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and U.S. Consulate General in Dubai are accepting ballots to be mailed via diplomatic pouch.
- Election materials can be dropped off WITHOUT an appointment at either U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi or U.S. Consulate General Dubai, Sunday through Thursday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (except on U.S. or UAE holidays).
- They recommend all ballots be delivered to the U.S. Embassy on or before Wednesday, September 30, 2020.
- Bring open and unsealed, self-addressed, self-stamped envelopes so that security can screen your envelope before you seal it. Postage paid envelopes are also available there.
- More details are here: https://ae.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/voting/?fbclid=IwAR2v_EOCpiqTw-b4z1W2yDW8PUemS1I9hFHDesYys8ka7VaWjxITutpmajg.
- This is the most cost-effective option (free), however the Embassy cannot guarantee that your ballot will arrive in time to be counted. Diplomatic pouch mailing can sometimes take as long as 4-6 weeks to arrive at its final destination in the U.S.
2. Courier: ALL states will accept ballots via courier (e.g., FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc).
- If you can’t get to the Embassy/Consulate or if you can't mail it back until after September 30, this may be your best choice - although it is more expensive.
- Be careful though that couriers will not deliver to a PO Box, so if your Local Election Office’s address is a PO Box, you will need to email or call them to get their street address. You can find your LEO here: https://www.votefromabroad.org/states.
3. Emirates Post: Mail your ballot using the UAE mail system (Emirates Post) if it is sending mail overseas. Check at any post office. You should be able to send it so that you can track delivery status.
As a final precaution, we recommend for any voters in the 20 states that require ballots to be returned by mail, to fill in and submit ASAP a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (aka “Backup Ballot”). The Backup Ballot will be counted in case your normal ballot is not received in time. Instructions on completing the FWAB are available here (https://www.votefromabroad.org/fwab/). And a more detailed presentation with instructions is here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1qbBkhsi9lXtZ62Agn_579Q8rJWadP-Vn5Bj2UBfuLuw/edit. The backup ballot can be submitted using the same three options described above.
We hope this guidance is clear and useful for you. Please email us if you have ANY questions.
Please mark your calendars as we will also be holding a Zoom webinar information session on Wednesday 16 September @ 7:30 PM (UAE time) in order to clarify any points and answer questions. You can sign up for the webinar here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/167333/guidance_to_submit_your_vote_from_the_uae.