Voting

Introduction
Overseas Americans – estimated at 9 million by the US State department – have had the right to vote in Federal elections since 1975 thanks to grassroots campaigning by citizens and organizations, particularly Democrats Abroad. Since that time, it's become clear that a theoretical right to vote does not necessarily translate into an effective reality. Each state has different procedures and deadlines, information distribution is difficult, and mail delivery times can be problematic.

Great strides have been made in recent years. More overseas Americans than ever before who wish to vote are able to do so. Congress passed important legislation both protecting and facilitating overseas citizens' ability to vote. Online registration tools like Vote From Abroad at www.votefromabroad.org have made it even easier to send a yearly request for ballot required by the law. 

DA Voting Leadership:

Heidi Burch
| Vote From Abroad Coordinator
Eileen Weinberg
| DA Switzerland / Global GOTV Co-Chair
See all Leaders



  • News

    DA Voter Protection Update: 2021 Issues

    We are in the throes of the 2021 election season, and we wanted to keep you informed of some of the voter protection issues that could crop up, to be aware of and to share with other Americans abroad.

    Signature matching
    Apart from ballots not arriving on time to be counted, signature matching is the second most common issue which stops ballots being counted. If a voter has concerns or is unsure about the signature being held on file for them, they should contact their local election officer (LEO) to check for potential issues now. 

    Misinformation
    Misinformation is common, and LEO’s can give the wrong information to voters from abroad. If you have an issue that you’re concerned about, do check that you’ve been given the correct info by contacting the DA Voter Protection Team ([email protected]) to get up to date info on the UOCAVA laws that protect your vote from abroad.

    Voter Roll Purges
    If a voter has been purged or is unable to verify they are registered to vote, they should send in a new FPCA now to re-register, even if the deadline has passed, so they are registered for other upcoming elections. This is important particularly for Florida voters who had wanted to vote in the special primary election in FL’s 20th Congressional District 20, as this will ensure they are eligible to vote in the special general election on January 11, 2022.

    Geoblocking 
    Geoblocking (voter information websites being blocked to foreign IP addresses).
    Using a VPN often helps like the Opera browser (www.opera.com). If necessary, voters should also contact their LEO to help establish an appropriate workaround. We urge anyone encountering geoblocking to also contact the DA Voter Protection Team so that we can raise it with relevant bodies further up the chain (state voter protection teams, DNC, Board of Elections, FVAP). 

    Nixie Issue (election materials marked ‘return to sender’)
    In some cases, election materials going through the NY International Service Center for inbound international mail are being returned to voters marked ‘return to sender’ with a label which says ‘Nixie’ printed on it. Voters should use email or fax wherever possible to send their ballots. If required to return ballots by mail, do so as early as possible and if it is returned to sender, vote a new ballot by FWAB and use a courier as a workaround. We urge anyone dealing with a Nixie issue to contact the DA Voter Protection Team.

    Other Issues 
    The above are just some of the issues that may be encountered. Others may be election materials and ballots being held up in customs or problems with social security numbers. If you or someone you know is experiencing these or anything else stopping them from voting their ballots, please write to [email protected]. During the 2020 elections, we handled over 500 cases, helping voters abroad to successfully cast their ballots. Most importantly, don’t delay in seeking help if you’re experiencing a problem and always check for confirmation that your voted ballots have been received by the LEO. Voter protection issues usually crop up unexpectedly and addressing them at the last minute risks missing the election deadline. Let’s help ensure that ALL votes are counted in 2021!

    Many thanks and happy voting!

    Maya Buchanan & Martha McDevitt-Pugh
    2021 Voter Protection Team Leads

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    Vote in the Virginia State Elections - Nov 2, 2021

    Keep Virginia Blue! Turn Out to Elect Democrats for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and State House of Delegates

    Virginia has made remarkable progress under a Democratic governor and legislature -- and now we’re counting on you to help keep Virginia blue this fall! Virginia state elections for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and House of Delegates take place on November 2, 2021.

    1) Register to Vote and Request Your Ballot TODAY

    -- Many Overseas Voter Are Eligible to Vote

    • If you “intend to return”, you may vote in Virginia state elections.
      *Please note: Selecting “intend to return” may contribute towards establishing yourself as a tax resident in Virginia. Because the legal requirements to establish “residence” or “domicile” for tax purposes are determined by state law and the specific facts of your life, before you note that you intend to return on your form, you may consider seeking advice on these matters from a tax professional.  

    • If your “return is uncertain”, you may vote in Virginia state elections IF you provide the name of an employer for yourself or your spouse or your parent (if you are a dependent).
      Votefromabroad.org will prompt you where to provide this information.

    • If you’ve “never resided” in Virginia, or if your return is uncertain and you cannot provide an employer's name, you will not be able to vote in this state election.
      But you will be eligible to vote in the November 2022 federal elections for U.S. House of Representatives.

    -- It's Easy to Request Your Ballot, But Don't Delay--Deadlines are Coming

    Go to www.votefromabroad.org and follow the prompts to fill out the form to request your ballot, the Federal Post Card Application form (FPCA). The FPCA will also register you to vote if needed. To ensure you receive your ballot in time, please check the box on the FPCA to have your blank ballot sent to you by “Email/Online” or “Fax”.

    You can send in your FPCA to your local election office in Virginia by email (recommended), or fax, or mail.

    ALL VOTERS: If you are registered to vote, you MUST still send in an FPCA to request your ballot in 2021 to vote in this election. Your FPCA must be received by Oct 22, 2021, 5pm Eastern.

    • IF you are NOT registered to vote and are a military voter or eligible family member, your FPCA must be received by Nov 2, 2021, 7pm Eastern.

    2) Fill Out Your Ballot and Mail It Back Right Away

    When you get your ballot, fill it out and return it right away. You must mail back your ballot, so you'll want to give yourself plenty of time.

    Your ballot must be postmarked by Nov 2, 2021, 7pm AND received by Nov 5, 2021, 12pm Eastern

    But we urge you to get your ballot in as early as possible. If there are any problems, you may be able to fix them. But in order to fix a mistake on your ballot, such as lack of witness signature, your ballot must be received in Virginia by Friday, October 29!

     


    **REMEMBER: You Must Have a Witness Sign Your Ballot! **


    3) If You Don't Have Your Ballot Yet, Mail In a Backup Ballot Now

    If you haven't received your ballot yet, we recommend you mail in a Backup Ballot (the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, or FWAB). It’s only for overseas voters and protects your right to vote in case your official ballot doesn't arrive in time. For detailed information how to use the Backup Ballot, please go to www.votefromabroad.org/fwab

    To use the Backup Ballot for the Virginia State elections, please remember:

    • If you indicate your "return is uncertain," include the employer's name for yourself, your spouse, or (if you're a dependent) your parent. It will be on the "Additional Information" screen and look like this:

    • You will indicate your choices on the "Write in Candidates" block. If you don't know a candidate's name, you can just write in "Democrat." There are 4 offices on the ballot for this election--Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and your representative to the VA House of Delegates:

     

    • Finally, when you print out your Backup Ballot materials, remember you MUST have your witness sign on the "Voter Information"page--in Block 6! (The instructions fail to include this requirement). It should look like this:


    4) Confirm That Your Ballot Was Accepted

    Make sure your vote is counted. Please confirm that your ballot was received and accepted.

    Check your ballot status online using this website: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/Lookup/status

    Or, email or call your local election office. You can find the contact information at: www.votefromabroad.org/states/va; scroll down to "Find Your Election Office"

    Send in your ballot as early as possible to allow time to fix any problems!


    NEED HELP? EMAIL US AT [email protected]

     

    US Overseas Registered Voter Engagement Program

    As the official overseas arm of the Democratic Party of the United States, Democrats Abroad sends occasional communications to US voters who live or work outside the territorial US. This is part of our mission to maintain political engagement with US voters. To enable us to contact US voters who are not members of Democrats Abroad, we receive personal data from the constituent committee of the Democratic Party in, or the local election officials of, the US state, district or territory where the voter is registered. Data we receive for this purpose consists of information previously disclosed by the US voter to US local election officials. The data we receive this way is normally limited to the voter’s name, overseas address, and registered voting address in the US. We supply some of this data to our constituent Country Committees so they can facilitate making contact with voters resident in that country. Democrats Abroad uses this data only for purposes of political engagement and we delete this data at intervals of not more than four (4) years. You can find our contact details and details of our privacy policies here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/privacy  [v.1.2.VA15092021]



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    VOTE EN LAS ELECCIONES ESTATALES DE VIRGINIA- 2 DE NOVIEMBRE 2021

    ¡MANTENGAMOS EL ESTADO DE VIRGINIA AZUL! ELIJA DEMÓCRATAS PARA GOBERNADOR, VICE GOBERNADOR, PROCURADOR GENERAL, Y CASA ESTATAL DE DELEGADOS

    Virginia tiene gobernador y legislatura Demócrata- ¡y ahora contamos con usted para mantener al estado de Virginia azul este otoño! Las elecciones del estado de Virginia para Gobernador, Vice Gobernador, Procurador General, y Casa de Delegados tomara lugar el 2 de Noviembre, 2021.

    1) Regístrese para Votar y Pida su Boleta HOY

    —Muchos Votantes en el extranjero son Elegibles para Votar

    • Si usted tiene “intend to return” (intenciones de volver), usted puede votar en las elecciones de Virginia 

    *Por favor tenga en cuenta: Seleccionar “intend to return” (intenciones de volver) puede contribuir a establecerlo como residente que paga impuestos en Virginia. Debido a que los requisitos legales para establecer “residence” (residencia) o “domicile” (domicilio) para propósitos de impuestos son determinados por ley estatal y detalles específicos de su vida, antes de marcar que tiene intenciones de volver en su formulario, usted debería pedir consejo a un profesional de impuestos.

    • Si su “return is uncertain (retorno es incierto), usted puede votar en las elecciones estatales de Virginia SI provee el nombre de su empleador o el de su pareja o de su padre (si usted es dependiente)
      Votefromabroad.org le va a indicar donde proveer esta información

    • Si usted “never resided” (nunca vivió) en Virginia, o si  su retorno es incierto Y no puede proveer el nombre de un empleador, usted no podrá votar en esta elección estatal.
      Pero si será elegible para votar en Noviembre de 2022 en las elecciones federales para U.S. House of Representatives (Casa de Representantes de los Estados Unidos).

    -- Es Fácil Pedir su BOLETA, Pero No Espere — La fecha Límite se Aproxima

    Visite www.votefromabroad.org/es y siga las indicaciones para llenar el formulario “Federal Post Card Application” (FPCA) y pedir su boleta. El FPCA también lo registrará para votar si es necesario. Para asegurar que su boleta llegue a tiempo, por favor marque la caja en el formulario FPCA “Email/Online” o “Fax” para recibir su boleta por correo electrónico o fax.

    Puede enviar su FPCA a su oficina local de elecciones en Virginia por correo electrónico (recomendado), fax o correo regular.

    A TODOS LOS VOTANTES: Si usted está registrado para votar AÚN tiene que enviar su FPCA para pedir su boleta en el 2021 y votar en esta elección.  Su FPCA debe ser recibido a más tardar el 22 de Octubre 2021 a las 5 P.M. hora del este de los Estados Unidos.

    • Si usted NO está registrado para votar y es militar o un familiar elegible su FPCA debe ser recibido a más tardar el 12 de Noviembre 2021 a las 7 P.M. hora del este de los Estados Unidos.

    2) Complete su boleta y devuélvala por correo de inmediato

    Las boletas serán enviadas comenzando el 18 de Septiembre (45 días antes de la elección). Marque su calendario y espérenlas; asegúrense que no hayan ido a su correo SPAM o cualquier otro correo que no sea su correo principal.

    Cuándo reciba su boleta completela y retórnela enseguida. Tiene que enviar su boleta por correo regular así que debe darse suficiente tiempo para hacerlo.

    Su boleta debe estar marcada por el correo el 2 de Noviembre 2021 a las 7 P.M. y tiene que ser recibida para el 5 de Noviembre 2021 a las 12 P.M. hora del este de los Estados Unidos.

    Le urgimos que entregue su boleta lo más pronto posible. Si hay problemas puede ser que los pueda corregir. Pero en orden para corregir sus problemas, por ejemplo la falta de la firma de un testigo, su boleta debe ser recibida en Virgina el 29 de Octubre.Su boleta debe estar marcada por el correo el 2 de Noviembre 2021 a las 7 P .M. y tiene que ser recibida para el 5 de Noviembre 2021 a las 12 P.M. hora del este de los Estados Unidos.

    **RECORDATORIO: Debe hacer que un testigo firme su boleta.**


    3) Si aún no tiene su boleta devuelva su Boleta de Respaldo por correo ahora.

    Si no ha recibido su boleta recomendamos que devuelva su Boleta de Respaldo (Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot o FWAB por sus siglas en ingles) por correo. Es solamente para votantes en el extranjero y protege su derecho de votar en caso de qué su boleta oficial no haya llegado a tiempo. Para información detallada de como usar la Boleta de Respaldo por favor visite www.votefromabroad.org/es/fwab.

    Para usar la Boleta de Respaldo para las elecciones en el estado de Virginia por favor recuerde que:

    • Si usted indica que su retorno es incierto (“return is uncertain”) incluya el nombre de su empleador, el de su esposo/a, o si usted es un dependiente el de su padre. Esta información se encuentra en la sección “Additional Information” (Información adicional) y se ve así:


    • Usted indicará sus opciones en el la sección llamada “Write in Candidates” (Candidatos por escrito). Si usted no sabe el nombre de su candidato puede escribir “Democrat” (Demócrata). Hay cuatro oficinas en la boleta para esta elección: Gobernador, Vice Gobernador, Procurador General y su representante a la Casa de Delegados del estado de Virginia: 


    • Finalmente, cuando imprima su Boleta de Respaldo y los materiales adjuntos, recuerde que debe hacer que su testigo firme en la sección “Voter Information” (Información de votante)en el Bloque # 6. (Las instrucciones no dicen de este requisito.) Se debe ver así:


     


    4) Confirme que su boleta fue aceptada.

    Asegúrese que su voto sea contado. Por favor confirme que su boleta fue recibida y aceptada.

    Verifique el estado de su boleta en línea usando esta página: http://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/Lookup/status

    O, envíe un correo electrónico o llame a su oficina local de elecciones. Puede encontrar la información de contacto aquí: www.votefromabroad.org/es/states/VA; desplazase hasta "Funcionarios Electorales". 

    Devuelva su boleta lo más pronto posible, de esa manera si hay algún problema tiene suficiente tiempo para arreglarlo.

    ¿Necesita ayuda? Mándenos un correo electrónico a:  [email protected]

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    Vote in the NJ State Elections - Nov 2, 2021

    Keep New Jersey Blue! Turn Out to Elect Democrats for Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senate, and State Assembly

    We’re counting on you to help keep New Jersey blue this fall! New Jersey state elections for Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senate, and State Assembly take place on November 2, 2021.

    1) Request Your Ballot TODAY

    • If you “intend to return”, you are eligible to vote in New Jersey state elections.

      *Please note: Selecting “intend to return” may contribute towards establishing yourself as a tax resident in New Jersey . Because the legal requirements to establish “residence” or “domicile” for tax purposes are determined by state law and the specific facts of your life, before you note that you intend to return on your form, you may consider seeking advice on these matters from a tax professional.  

    • If your “return is uncertain" or if you’ve “never resided” in New Jersey, you will not be able to vote in this state election. But you will be eligible to vote in the November 2022 federal elections for U.S. House of Representatives.

      And please go to demsabroad.org/NJsen to find out how you can help change New Jersey law back to allow "return uncertain" overseas voters to vote in New Jersey state elections.

    -- It's Easy to Request Your Ballot, But Don't Delay--Deadlines are Coming

    Go to www.votefromabroad.org and follow the prompts to fill out the form to request your ballot, the Federal Post Card Application form (FPCA). To ensure you receive your ballot in time, please check the box on the FPCA to have your blank ballot sent to you by “Email/Online” or “Fax”.

    You can send in your FPCA to your local election office in New Jersey by email (recommended), or fax, or mail.

    • If you are registered to vote, you MUST still send in an FPCA to request your ballot in 2021 to vote in this election. Your FPCA must be received by Oct 29, 2021.

    Can't Vote in New Jersey State Elections Because of Your Voting Category? You Can Help Change That!

    Many overseas voters in New Jersey lost their right to vote in New Jersey state elections after Chris Christie pushed through a change in the law in 2017 disenfranchising voters who indicate their "return is uncertain."

    A group of dedicated Democrats Abroad members who vote in New Jersey have been working with leaders in the New Jersey state legislature to fix the law. And in 2021, Assemblywoman Downey, Assemblyman Mukherji, and State Senator Vin Gopal introduced a bill, NJ A5306/S3761, to change the law back and enfranchise voters once again.

    Thanks to the efforts of DA members like you, this bill passed the Assembly this summer! Now we need your help to get it passed in the State Senate. Please contact your State Senator and ask them to cosponsor this bill. Go to demsabroad.org/NJsen for contact information and talking points. Make your voice heard!


    2) Fill Out Your Ballot and Email (Recommended) or Fax It Back Right Away (and then Mail It)

    When you get your ballot, fill it out and return it right away. Your ballot must be received in New Jersey by Nov 2, 2021, 8pm Eastern

    You can return your ballot by email (recommended) or fax to meet the deadline, but you must also mail the original signed ballot at the same time.

    You can check your ballot status online at: nj.gov/state/elections/vote-track-my-ballot

    Or, email or call your local election office. You can find the contact information at: www.votefromabroad.org/states/nj; scroll down to "Find Your Election Office"


    3) If You Don't Have Your Ballot Yet, Send In a Backup Ballot

    If you haven't received your ballot yet, we recommend you send in a Backup Ballot (the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, or FWAB). It’s only for overseas voters and protects your right to vote in case your official ballot doesn't arrive in time. For detailed information how to use the Backup Ballot, please go to www.votefromabroad.org/fwab

    To use the Backup Ballot for the New Jersey State elections, please remember you will indicate your choices on the "Write in Candidates" block. If you don't know a candidate's name, you can just write in "Democrat."

    There are 4 offices on the ballot for this election--Governor, Lt. Governor, State Senate, and State Assembly:


    4) Confirm That Your Ballot Was Accepted

    Make sure your vote is counted. Please confirm that your ballot was received and accepted.

    Check your ballot status online using this website: nj.gov/state/elections/vote-track-my-ballot

    Or, email or call your local election office. You can find the contact information at: www.votefromabroad.org/states/nj; scroll down to "Find Your Election Office"

    Send in your ballot as early as possible so if there's any problem, you'll have time to fix it.


    NEED HELP? EMAIL US AT [email protected]

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