Americans living overseas must request their ballot in every calendar year they want to vote — yes, even if it’s normally sent to you automatically. Go to Vote From Abroad and request your ballot to be sent to you by email! Don’t procrastinate — blank ballots will be sent September 19. The time to request is now!
When you receive your ballot by email on or before September 19, be sure to immediately vote it and return it by the fastest method your state allows — help election officials at home by getting your ballot in early and flattening the curve.
Did you not receive your ballot yet and are unsure when the deadlines to register, request, and return the ballot is for your state? Find out here: www.votefromabroad.org/states.
Be a voter. Be counted — request and return your ballot immediately!
Why Use the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA)?
- All states will send you your blank ballot by email on or before September 19, if you requested one. Not sure? Check with your local election official or re-submit an FPCA form and request to receive your ballot by email
- Some states give more time to return a ballot
- An up-to-date FPCA form could protect your ballot in case of a recount
- You may have the option to return your ballot electronically (fax, email, web portal)
- You may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if your ballot doesn’t arrive on time — you can only use an FWAB if you have sent in the FPCA!
- You’ll receive ballots for all the elections in which you are eligible to vote for the calendar year, including run-offs and special elections
Why use Vote from Abroad (VFA) vs other FPCA-generating websites like FVAP or Overseas Vote Foundation?
- Vote from Abroad has a photo signature option that allows voters from most states (excluding CA and NY) to sign their completed FPCA and email it directly without needing to print, sign, and scan it
- VFA has an online help desk to answer individual voter questions
- VFA has volunteers who contact states to ensure that voting information is correct and up to date in the State Voting Guide
- VFA has the option to receive non-partisan voting reminders tailored to your state
Where can I get in-person help?
Come to one of our Voter Registration Help Tables in Graz, Innsbruck, Linz, Salzburg, Vorarlberg & Vienna*!
We’ve been helping Americans to register to vote, request their ballot, and fill out their Federal Absentee Write-in Ballot at various farmers' markets and other venues during the summer and we’ll continue over the next couple of months. Please be sure to stop by and say hello to our fantastic volunteers and make sure you are ready for November’s election. Bring a friend!
For voters who need to return their ballot by fax, we’ll help you on September 21st.
*Help tables in Vienna have a printer, envelopes, and stamps available.
Where can I get online help?
Every Sunday, volunteers at the Global Voter Help Desk are ready to answer your questions in a one-on-one session. Just go to democratsabroad.org/global_voter_assistance.
Should I submit a Federal Absentee Write-in Ballot (FWAB)?
This year, like no other, the fate of your ballot depends on which state you vote in. Currently* AR, CT, GA, ID, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT**, WI, will only allow voters to return their ballot by postal mail. All US Citizens who vote in one of these states should immediately fill out and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). It’s not the year to put your ballot in jeopardy!
Even if you sent in a FWAB, you can still send the regular ballot if and when you receive it. “If they both arrive before the deadline — which for most states is Election Day — the election office will count only the official ballot, so there’s no need to worry your vote will be double-counted or disqualified.” (Are You an American Voting From Abroad? Here’s How to Do It, NYT August 28, 2020). After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.
Get more information on how to submit your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.
* States are constantly realising that postal-only ballot return will disenfranchise tens of thousands of overseas voters and are updating the regulations daily. Please check the State Voting Guide at votefromabroad.org for up to date information for your state.
** Voters in Vermont need to check with their local election official.
Where’s my ballot?
Your ballot should be in your inbox on or before September 19 (check your spam folder).
If you didn’t request to receive your ballot by email, you can still do so. Just resubmit your FPCA form or go online to your state’s voter status website — google “Am I registered” and your state. Some states ask for an ID or a driver’s license with the online form. In this case contact your local election official directly. You can find yours under “Find your election office” at votefromabroad.org.
How should I return my ballot?
You should return your ballot as soon as you receive it in the fastest way which your state allows.
If you can return your ballot by email, online, or by fax, use this method!
- States that accept email and online ballot returns are: AL, AZ, CO, DC, DE, HI, IA, IN, KS, MA, ME, MS, MT, MO, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, RI, OR, SC, UT, *VT, WA, WV
- States that accept ballot returns by FAX are: AK, CA, FL, LA, OK
States that only accept postal mail ballot returns (be sure to also immediately send an FWAB) are: AR, CT, GA, ID, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, *VT, WI
If you can only return your ballot by postal mail you have a couple of different options:
- Priority mail with the Austrian Post: As of August 29, the Austrian post office is accepting “Brief Priority”, but is not accepting “Paket Light International” to the US. Use the envelope template provided with your ballot, but be sure to add postage where it says “no postage required.” Expect a two week delivery time.
NOTE: The Austrian postal machines cannot read the envelope template when the return address is in the upper left-hand corner. To avoid this problem, put an X in ballpoint pen across the return address in such a way that it is still legible to the local election official in the US.
- Courier Service: As of August 29, the "mail only" ballot return states have confirmed to Democrats Abroad, in writing, that they will accept overseas ballots that are sent in by courier (Fedex, DHL, etc). All of the states indicated that a date stamp isn't needed if the Ballot/FWAB arrives by close of polls on Election Day, November 3.
A date stamp is only necessary in those states that have a "postmarked by election day" deadline and accept ballots that are received in a specific period after Election Day. If a ballot for one of those states is received after Election Day, then there must be something to prove it was placed in the mail by Election Day. The states that require a date stamp for ballots that arrive after Election Day are: GA, IL, KY, MD, NJ, NY, PA, TX, and VA.
- Diplomatic Pouch: You may drop off your ballot in person at U.S. Consulate Vienna at Parkring 12A (Marriott Hotel building), weekdays from 08:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Ballots sent by Diplomatic Pouch must be placed in a postage-paid envelope for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. sorting facility. It can take up to three weeks for mail sent by Diplomatic Pouch to reach your local election office. Therefore, U.S. Consulate Vienna will not accept any ballots after October 2.
Remember, although the diplomatic pouch is free it is also VERY slow. Once your ballot reaches Dulles Airport in DC it then goes into the normal US Postal Service which is currently having long delays.
Thank you for being a voter! Together we are the Margin of Victory!