October 18, 2022

Voting from Abroad 101

Voting in the November 8 midterms elections is the best tool you have to make your voice heard on important issues, from climate change to bodily autonomy to election administration. If you haven’t requested your ballot, or you’re unsure if you’ve requested one, follow the three easy steps below.

Also, spread the word about voting to your family, friends, and co-workers. Let them know that you voted and that if they’re a U.S. or dual citizen, they should, too!

Step 1: Request your ballot

Head to www.votefromabroad.org, your one-stop-shop for registering to vote and requesting your overseas absentee ballot. There, you’ll complete and submit your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the form overseas voters like you use to request ballots. The website will help you fill out the FPCA and tell you exactly where to send it. In most cases, you can submit it right then and there electronically!

If you’re not registered to vote or need to change where you’re registered, don’t worry: The FPCA doubles as a voter registration form. You’ll register at the address where you most recently lived in the United States.

Pro tip: On the FPCA form, mark that you want to receive your ballot by email. That way, you'll get your ballot quickly and avoid snail-mail delays.

Step 2: Receive and vote your ballot

Once you’ve got your ballot, carefully read the instructions and fill it out as soon as possible. You’ll probably want to vote for all the offices listed on the ballot, especially at the state and local levels— where tons of decisions that impact our future are being made. A Google search of the candidates or ballotopedia.org are great ways to find out where they stand on issues important to you, as is reading news coverage of the races in which you’ll be voting.

Pro tip: Make sure you’ve signed everywhere required, used the right color pen, and put the right envelope inside of the other (if returning voted ballot by postal mail). Each state, and sometimes even county, has different requirements. Human error is a top reason overseas absentee ballots get rejected, so it’s worth taking some extra time to read the instructions and do it right. If you have questions, we're here to help!

Step 3: Return your completed ballot

  • It is now too late to use the US Embassy pouch service!
  • Check return times for regular mail services before using.
  • If possible, please use a private courier service. See country discounts below. 

After you’ve completed your ballot, return it right away. Some states allow overseas voters to return their voted ballots through secure electronic means — like an upload portal, email, or even fax (yes, fax!) — but many require it to be sent by postal mail. You can check your state’s rules and deadlines at www.votefromabroad.org.

If you have to return your ballot by postal mail, you’ll want to make sure you’ve put the correct postage and recipient address on the envelope (the latter will be included with your ballot instructions). If time’s running short, you can also use a courier such as DHL, UPS, or FedEx, many countries have arranged for a discount – see the list below. 

If you vote in one of the following states, we also have ballot return guides to help you get your ballot back: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Pro tip: Return your voted ballot within 48 hours of receiving it, especially if you have to return it by postal mail. Voting early will not only save you stress and money, it will give you enough time to confirm that your ballot made it and will be counted. Late arrival is another top reason absentee ballots are rejected. Don’t let it happen to you.

And just like that, you’ll have voted from abroad in the November midterm elections!  

Votes from abroad may have proved decisive in the 2020 election outcome — now, with your help, we’re ready to make an even bigger difference in 2022!

Here are some resources to help

Need one-on-one help? A live voter assistant is just a Zoom away! Click in to ZoomTheVote, hosted and staffed by experienced VoteFromAbroad voter helpers, from anywhere in the world. Tuesdays and Wednesdays from noon-4pm EDT, Saturdays from 4am-6am EDT, and Sundays from 11am-3pm EDT. Link to join is here: https://qrco.de/bbh0zg

Voting questions? Check out our FAQs or write to us at [email protected]. 

What to know about voting in your state. Go to www.votefromabroad.org/states for detailed information on your state's deadlines, how to send in your registration/ballot request/ballot return, contact information for local election officials, and links to state websites to confirm registration and see sample ballots. You can also find the link to track your ballot at www.votefromabroad.org/states.

In which states can the ballot only be returned by mail? You must return your voted ballot by postal mail if you vote in the following states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Please don't wait to return your ballot — international mail takes time! 


Haven’t received your ballot?

If you requested to receive your ballot by postal mail, you should have likely received it by now (they started being sent to voters on Sept 24).

If you requested to receive your ballot electronically, please double check your spam and junk folders.

If you still can’t find your ballot, please do the following immediately:

  1. Submit a new ballot request form via www.votefromabroad.org. Please submit the request electronically, if possible, and on the form, mark that you would like to receive your ballot by email. Doing this will expedite the process.
  2. AND, if you vote in a postal mail return state (see above), vote and return a Federal Absentee Write-in Ballot, also known as a FWAB or “Backup Ballot.” Details on the Backup Ballot can be found here: https://www.votefromabroad.org/faqs/BB1.

Please note that even if you vote and return a Backup Ballot, you should still vote and return your official ballot once you receive it. If both your official voted ballot and Backup Ballot reach your local election office in time, the official ballot will be counted and the Backup Ballot will be voided. If only the Backup Ballot arrives, that will be counted as your vote.

Need to use a courier service? Call or email your local election office in the United States to check out the best address to use, and then check out courier solutions. Some couriers have provided discounts for some countries for mail return to the U.S. 

Special deals for Courier services:

Austria-All voters get 20% off ballot return with DHL with code USA20
Canada-Democrats Abroad members get 50% off ballot return with UPS
Czech Republic-All voters get 20% off mail return with DHL with code US20
Estonia-All voters get 28% off ballot return with DHL with promo code USA22
Germany- All voters get 10% off ballot return with DHL with code USA10
Hungary-All voters get 30% off ballot return with DHL with code USA30 until October 31st
Ireland-All voters get 20% off ballot return when using code USA20 at a physical DHL location
Israel-All voters get a 17% DHL discount when following instructions in this link
Italy-All voters get 20% off ballot return with DHL when using code USA20 at a physical DHL location
Poland-All voters get 10% off ballot return with DHL with code USA10
Lithuania-All voters get 20% off ballot return with DHL with code USA20
Spain-All voters get 20% off ballot return with DHL with code USA2022
Turkey-All voters get 20% off ballot return with DHL with code USATURKEY20
UK-All voters get 10% off ballot return with DHL when using code USA10

From Argentina to Vietnam, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at information specific to your country of residence including courier service discounts and more. 

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Not Listed?  

Asia Pacific: Australia , China , Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Not Listed?

Europe, Middle East & Africa: Africa Committee, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland , Israel, Italy, Kenya , Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Not Listed?


Have a technical question? Take a look at these videos and PDF’s to find out how-to scan a ballot, fold a New York ballot, use VPN to access blocked U.S. websites, photograph your signature, send your ballot by post, get the fax transmission cover sheet, and fax your ballot using your phone with fax.plusefax.com or other "email to fax solutions" option.

Do you vote in one of the following states? We also have ballot return guides to help you get your ballot back to: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Thank you for voting!