Voting Blog

New Voter Registration Training

Join our voter registration team—protect votes from abroad!

Democrats Abroad sets up Voter Registration events all over the world to help overseas voters makes sure they will get their ballots and VOTE!

Overseas voters need to send in their Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form to request their ballot every calendar year in which they wish to vote. Our website, www.votefromabroad.org, makes it easy for overseas voters to fill in and submit their form.

To volunteer at a Democrats Abroad Voter Registration event near you, please contact your local chapter of Democrats Abroad. Go to: www.democratsabroad.org and click on "Countries" for contact information--or email us at: gotv@democratsabroad.org

These training materials will provide the background you'll need to volunteer at a voter registration event and help your friends, family, and other overseas voters register to vote and request their ballots. (For your convenience, the training materials are offered either in a training deck OR video format):

 

Questions about voter registration or volunteering? Send an email to the Voter Help Desk at: gotv@democratsabroad.org


HOW TO VOTE USING THE EMERGENCY BACK-UP BALLOT (FWAB)

Is there a possibility your Official ballot won’t get to you in time to meet the ballot return deadlines?

VOTE NOW using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). This emergency Backup Ballot is specifically for overseas voters!

_____________

STEP I. Send in Your Ballot Request form (the Federal Post Card Application or FPCA):

Overseas voters need to submit a Ballot Request form every calendar year.

To fill out and submit your Ballot Request form, click here.

After you send it in, please be sure to verify with your Local Election Official (LEO) that they received your Ballot Request form and will send out your official ballot. You can find the contact information on the State Voting Guide: www.votefromabroad.org/states


STEP II. Fill out and Send in Your Emergency Back-up Ballot (the FWAB):

1. Go to this website and follow the prompts to Fill in the FWAB

2. The website may fill in the candidates for you to choose from. But if it does not, you can type in the candidate’s name.
Or, you can just type in "Democrat" for any office where you don't know the candidate's name. (This doesn't work for Primary elections since all of the candidates will be Democrats!)

3. Follow the instructions to download the PDF Package containing your completed FWAB and Instructions. You can also download templates to paste onto your envelopes if you return your ballot by postal mail.

4. Print out the completed FWAB and the other documents you downloaded. Then read and carefully follow the instructions to SUBMIT the required materials to your LEO.

To Return by Fax or Email: The Instructions will indicate if your state will accept the FWAB by Email or Fax. We recommend you do so to ensure it will be received by the deadline.

  • If your state only allows return by Fax (not Email) and you don’t have access to a fax machine, there are apps that will convert an email attachment to a fax. Scan in your FWAB and any required materials as an email attachment, then search for “fax app for Android/iPhone.” Follow the instructions to convert your email attachment to a fax transmission.

  • Or you can use the Fax service through the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP.gov). You will need to email your FWAB and any required supporting materials (see your state’s instructions) to fax@fvap.gov using the FVAP "Fax Transmission Coversheet," which you can find here (Scroll down to "Send in your forms...Email or Fax"). FVAP will then fax your election materials to your Local Election Office.

Return by Mail: If you choose–or if your state requires you–to return your FWAB by postal mail, please follow the instructions carefully.

Two envelopes are required:

  • a “Ballot Security Envelope”–to hold your completed FWAB ballot, and

  • a “Mailing Envelope”–to send in your sealed Ballot Security Envelope as well as the supporting materials with your identifying information.

When the Mailing Envelope reaches the Election Office, they will separate the Ballot Security Envelope from the supporting materials to maintain ballot secrecy.

If you wish, you can follow the instructions to download envelope templates to affix to blank envelopes. If you have your original signed Ballot Request form, include it in the outer “Mailing Envelope”.

__

*IMPORTANT: If you receive your official ballot after submitting your FWAB, you should complete and return your official ballot as well.

It’s okay–only one ballot per person will be counted! If both your FWAB and your official ballot arrive before the deadline, your FWAB will be discarded and only your official ballot will be counted.


LIVE 1-on-1 Voter Assistance for U.S. Citizens Abroad - Georgia Runoff

Scroll down and click on the dates below to RSVP and get connection details and reminders.

Did you know every eligible American living abroad can vote in U.S. elections? 

Was the last place you or your parent lived in the US the state of Georgia?

If you are 18 on or before January 5th you are allowed to vote in the runoff election. 

Do you have questions about how to vote? Click the chat bubble at the bottom of this screen and we can help you find the answers. 

But we get it. Sometimes you just want to speak to live person. 

Join us Tuesday & Thursday (noon-4pm January 5th & 7th. All time are listed as U.S. Eastern time. Our volunteers and standing by LIVE on Zoom to help answers questions you have about voting from abroad and curing your ballot.

How is it done on Zoom? You'll come into the main room and be paired 1:1 with a volunteer into a breakout room to ensure privacy and that you can get all your questions answered. It couldn't be easier. 

More information: The easiest way to request your ballot is at VoteFromAbroad.org. It takes just a few minutes to complete and send in your form to the US state where you last lived. The website will guide you step by step. In most cases it’s pretty simple. But if you’re new to voting abroad, or if you haven’t done it in a while, you may have additional questions. That’s why we’ll be here every Sunday until election day to help.

If you can’t make the 'office hours', you can always email us at helpdesk@votefromabroad.org or send in your question through our online help bubble, and a volunteer will get back to you.

Here is a handy website to convert the time zone to yours wherever you are in the world.

Zoom Connection Details:


Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/91090344003
Meeting number: 910 9034 4003
PassWord: Vote2020

Tuesday & Thursday: Noon-4pm (U.S. Eastern)
January 5th and 7th


2020 Primary Calendar

    State / Territorial Primary
Mon Feb  3 Presidential Only:  Iowa caucuses
Tue Feb 11 Presidential Only:  New Hampshire
Sat Feb 22 Presidential Only:  Nevada caucus (D)
Sat Feb 29 Presidential Only:  South Carolina (D)
Tue Mar  3 Alabama ∙ Arkansas ∙ California ∙ North Carolina ∙ Texas
Presidential Only:  American Samoa caucus (D) ∙ Colorado ∙ Maine ∙ Massachusetts ∙ Minnesota ∙ Oklahoma ∙ Tennessee ∙ Utah ∙ Vermont ∙ Virginia
    Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary runs through March 10
Tue Mar 10 Mississippi
Presidential Only:  Idaho ∙ Michigan ∙ Missouri ∙ North Dakota caucus (D) ∙ Washington
Sat Mar 14 Northern Marianas convention (D)
Tue Mar 17 Illinois
Presidential Only:  Arizona (D) ∙ Florida
Tue Mar 31 Arkansas runoff ∙ Mississippi runoff
Sat Apr  4 Presidential Only:  Alaska (D) ∙ Hawaii (D) ∙ Wyoming caucus (D)
Tue Apr  7 Presidential Only:  Wisconsin
Tue Apr 28 Ohio
Sat May 2 Presidential Only:  Guam caucus (D) ∙ Kansas (D)
Tues May 12 Nebraska
Tue May 19 Oregon
US Congress & State:  Idaho
Tue Jun  2 District of Columbia ∙ Indiana ∙ Maryland ∙ Montana ∙ New Mexico ∙ Pennsylvania ∙ South Dakota
Presidential Only: Rhode Island
US Congress & State:  Iowa
Sat Jun  6 Presidential Only:  Virgin Islands caucus (D)
Sun Jun  7 US Congress & State:  Puerto Rico
Tue Jun  9 Georgia ∙ West Virginia
US Congress & State:  Nevada ∙ North Dakota ∙ South Carolina
     
Tues Jun 23 Kentucky ∙ New York
US Congress & State:  Mississippi runoff ∙ South Carolina runoff ∙ Virginia
Tue Jun 30 US Congress & State:  Colorado ∙ Oklahoma ∙ Utah
Tue Jul 7 New Jersey
Presidential Only:  Delaware
Sat Jul 11 Presidential only:  Louisiana
Tue Jul 14 Alabama runoff ∙ Texas runoff
US Congress & State:  Maine
Sat Aug  1 US Congress & State:  Virgin Islands
Sat Aug  4 US Congress & State:  Arizona ∙ Kansas ∙ Michigan ∙ Missouri ∙ Washington
Thr Aug  6 US Congress & State:  Tennessee
Sat Aug  8 US Congress & State:  Hawaii
Tue Aug 11 Connecticut
US Congress & State:  Georgia runoff ∙ Minnesota ∙ South Dakota runoff ∙ Vermont ∙ Wisconsin
Tue Aug 18 US Congress & State:  Alaska ∙ Florida ∙ Wyoming
Tue Aug 25 US Congress & State:  Oklahoma runoff
Sat Aug 29 US Congress & State:  Guam
Tue Sep  1 US Congress & State:  Massachusetts
Tue Sep  8 US Congress & State:  New Hampshire ∙ Rhode Island
Tue Sep 15 US Congress & State:  Delaware
     
Sat Sep 19 45 Days to Election: Ballots for the November 3rd General Election should be arriving
     

 


2020 Special Elections

for Vacancies in the U.S. House

Maryland's 7th | Wisconsin's 7th | California's 25th | see Ballotpedia.org for US House Special Elections 2020 ➚

 

Make a NEW ballot request for 2020 — send your form as early as JAN 2, 2020.

  1. Go to www.votefromabroad.org to complete* the Ballot Request form (FPCA).
    We recommend that you choose to receive your ballot by EMAIL or ONLINE to get it fastest.
  2. Follow the instructions to attach your signature online, or print out the completed form to sign it.
  3. Send the signed FPCA to your election official.
    To request an absentee ballot, registered voters can EMAIL, FAX or MAIL the FPCA.
    To register to vote:
      •  Maryland and Wisconsin voters must MAIL the form.
      •  California voters can MAIL or FAX the form or register online.
  • After you send in your form, be sure to email or call your Local Election Official to verify they received it and will be sending a ballot to you. You can find contact information for your election official using the State Voting Guide on VoteFromAbroad.org or on the instructions printed with your completed form.
  • If you use the FPCA to request a ballot, only one form submission is needed to cover all 2020 elections, including the November 3 general election.
  • You can expect to receive your ballot 45 days before the election. Send your FPCA as early as January 2, 2020 to get all your ballots as soon as they are available. Mark your calendar: the November ballot will be sent to you by September 19.

If you have any questions while filling out the form on VoteFromAbroad.org, click the orange chat box button orange online chat button on the lower right corner of the screen to send a question to the Voter Help Desk or email gotv@democratsabroad.org.

 

Maryland's 7th Congressional District — Primary: February 4  |  General: April 28

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Elijah Cummings (D), who died on October 17, 2019. MD-07 contains portions of Howard and Baltimore counties and parts of the city of Baltimore.  see map of MD-07 ➚

Primary ballots available from December 21, 2019 (MD has requested a delay for this deadline).
Special General ballots available from March 14.

 

Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District — Primary: February 18  |  General: May 12

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Sean Duffy (R), who left office on September 23, 2019. WI-07 includes Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn counties. Portions of Chippewa, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, and Wood counties are also in the district.  see map of WI-07 ➚

Primary ballots available from January 4.
Special General ballots available from March 28.

 

California's 25th Congressional District — Primary: March 3  |  General: May 12

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Katie Hill (D), who resigned her seat on November 1, 2019. CA-25 includes the north-eastern portion of Los Angeles County and a small portion of eastern Ventura County. In California, non-presidential primary elections include all candidates regardless of party. The top two finishers advance to the general election, again regardless of party.  see map of CA-25 ➚

March 3 Special Primary coincides with California's Presidential Primary election.

  • January 18: Primary ballots available.
  • February 18: Register to vote (MAIL postmarked, ONLINE, FAX received)
  • February 25: Request a ballot (EMAIL, ONLINE, FAX, MAIL received)
  • March 3: Return voted by ballot (MAIL postmarked, FAX received by 8pm). Mailed ballots must be received no later than 3 days after election. Under California law, while you may receive a blank ballot by email, you may not return a voted ballot by email.

Special General ballots available from March 28.

 


*Note: When you fill in your Ballot Request form, be aware that selecting "I intend to return" rather than "my return is not certain" may contribute towards establishing yourself as a tax resident in your voting state. Because the legal requirements to establish "residence" or "domicile" for tax purposes are determined by state law and the specific facts of your life, if you are thinking about indicating "intend to return" on your form, you may consider seeking advice on these matters from your tax professional. (Not applicable to voters in AK, FL, NV, SD, TX, WA and WY)

Read more

UPU UPDATE: TRUMP AGREES TO ALLOW US TO REMAIN IN THE UPU

Good news! Following an agreement by the member states at the Extraordinary Congress on 25 September 2019, the Trump Administration will allow the US to continue to participate in the Universal Postal Union (UPU). Please click on this link to see the Democrats Abroad Statement on the US remaining in UPU

While this is excellent news for the current elections, there is reason to be wary! The agreement allows the US (and other countries) to set their own postal rates starting 1 July 2020. If the US enacts higher rates, it could have a significant impact on mailing to and from the US.

To make sure you can successfully cast your ballot, please:

  1. When you fill out your ballot request form on votefromabroad.org, be sure to indicate you choose to receive your ballot by "Email or online". (We highly recommend you do not choose "Mail"--don't risk your ballot being lost or delayed in the mail!)

  2. Once you received your ballot, we recommend returning your ballot by email or fax if your state allows it.

  3. If your state does not allow ballot return using email or fax, please vote and mail back your ballot as soon as possible.

  4. Other options if you must mail back your ballot and postal mail isn't reliable or available in your country include (1) accessing the US Embassy/Consulate's diplomatic mail pouch (free but slow) and (2) private courier services (expensive but quick).
    It may also be possible to mail your ballot from within the US, but check with your Local Election Official first!

 

 


UPU Advice for 2019 Voters

The US administration has tentative plans to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU) treaty mid-October 2019. Should that withdrawal happen, postal mail from abroad back to the US may experience delays and price increases. To make sure you can successfully cast your ballot in your state's elections this year we recommend the following steps:

  1. Prepare and send in your ballot request form now to your local election office via votefromabroad.org. choose
    • When you fill in your request form, make sure you indicate you choose to receive your ballot by "Email or online".
    • Do not choose "Mail".

    SEP 21Ballots for November 5 elections should be available on or around September 21.

  2. If you have not received your ballot by September 22 reach out to your local election office to find out its status. Find election office contact information at https://www.votefromabroad.org/states.

  3. Once you received your ballot, we recommend returning your ballot by email or fax if your state allows it.

    For those states that do not allow ballot return using email or fax, please vote and mail back your ballot immediately to avoid any disruption in mail service after October 17: 

 

Is your vote dependent on the postal service?

Does your state accept elections materials using alternatives to postal mail, such as email, online upload, or fax? Or is postal mail mandated?

 

I.  States restricting transmission to postal mail for

a.   Voter Registration (FPCA)

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida
  3. Idaho
  4. Oregon
  5. South Dakota
  6. West Virginia
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Wyoming

b.   Ballot Request (FPCA)

  1. Alabama
  2. Wyoming – if originally registered with FPCA

May submit FPCA by email or fax, but must mail form too:

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. New York
  5. Rhode Island

c.   Voted Ballot Return 🗳

  1. Arkansas
  2. Connecticut
  3. Georgia
  4. Idaho
  5. Illinois
  6. Iowa   *email/fax only in "hostile zone"
  7. Kentucky
  8. Maryland
  9. Michigan
  10. Minnesota
  11. Missouri  *email/fax only in "hostile zone"
  12. New Hampshire
  13. New York
  14. Ohio
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. South Dakota
  17. Tennessee
  18. Texas  *fax only in "hostile zone"
  19. Vermont
  20. Virginia
  21. Wisconsin
  22. Wyoming

 

II.  States offering electronic options (email, online access, fax) to

a.   Deliver Blank Ballot to Voter

Every state will send absentee ballot electronically to voters abroad if preference to receive voting materials by "Email or online" or "Fax" is indicated on Ballot Request form (FPCA).

b.   Return Voted Ballot 🗳

  1. Alabama – return using online upload of ballot if choosing to received voting materials by "Email or online."
  2. Alaska – return by fax if choosing to received voting materials by "Email or online" or "Fax."
  3. Arizona
  4. California – return by fax
  5. Colorado – vote online at ballotreturn.sos.colorado.gov
  6. Delaware
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Florida – return by fax
  9. Hawaii
  10. Indiana
  11. Louisiana – return by fax with prior arrangement by LEO
  12. Kansas
  13. Maine
  14. Massachusetts
  15. Mississippi
  16. Montana – vote online at www.vote4montana.us
  17. Nebraska – return by email or fax with prior arrangement by LEO
  18. Nevada
  19. New Jersey – return by email or fax, but must mail marked ballot too
  20. New Mexico
  21. North Carolina
  22. North Dakota
  23. Oklahoma – return by fax
  24. Oregon
  25. Rhode Island – check with your election official to return by email or fax
  26. South Carolina
  27. Utah
  28. Washington
  29. West Virginia

2019 State Gubernatorial and Legislative Elections

Five states — Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia — will hold General Elections in November 2019 for state executive offices, state legislative offices or both.

    State Election
Tue May 21 Kentucky Primary
Tue Jun 04 New Jersey Primary
Tue Jun 11 Virginia Primary
Tue Aug 06 Mississippi Primary
Tue Aug 27 Mississippi Primary Runoff 
(If needed, top two finishers for any office where no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote in the Mississippi Primary Election)
Sat Oct 12 Louisiana Primary
(Any candidate who receives at least 50% of the vote in the Louisiana Primary Election wins office and does not go to the Louisiana General Election)
     
Sat Sep 21 45 Days to Election: overseas absentee ballots for the General Election should be arriving
     
Tue Nov 05 General Election - Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia
Sat Nov 16 General Election - Louisiana 
(If needed, top two finishers for any office where no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote in the Louisiana Primary Election)

Advice for voters on US plans to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Download 2019 State Gubernatorial and Legislative Elections list (Google Doc)

 

What is on the Ballot in 2019?

  • Kentucky — includes Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General and Secretary of State
    *All overseas voters, except those who have "never resided in the U.S.", may vote in KY state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • Louisiana — includes Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate and State House
    *All overseas voters, except those who have "never resided in the U.S.", may vote in LA state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • The race for Governor (Democratic John Bel Edwards seeks re-election) and Secretary of State (Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup) advance to General Election on Nov 16.
  • Mississippi — includes Governor, Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Senate and State House
  • *All overseas voters, except those who have "never resided in the U.S.", may vote in MS state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • New Jersey — General Assembly
  • *Overseas voters who indicate they "intend to return" may vote in NJ state elections
    ➜ share on Facebook

  • Virginia — includes State Senate and State House
    *Overseas voters who indicate they "intend to return" may vote in VA state elections.
    In addition, VA overseas voters who indicate their "return is uncertain" may vote in VA state elections if they provide the name of an overseas employer for either the voter or the voter's spouse or the voter's parent (if the voter is a dependent)
    ➜ share on Facebook

 

Read more

Federal review of ballot request and back-up ballot forms

Drafts of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) forms are available for review and comment on the Federal Register until January 22 at regulations.gov.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act -- also know as UOCAVA, the federal law that defines overseas voting -- requires that the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) review and accept public comment every three years on the two federal forms: the FPCA used to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and update contact information, and the FWAB  backup ballot if the voter doesn’t receive a requested ballot in time.

 

View and comment on the draft FPCA form: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=DOD-2018-OS-0092

View and comment on the draft FWAB form: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=DOD-2018-OS-0091


Georgia Secretary of State Dec 4 Runoff

Georgia will hold a State Runoff Election on Tuesday, December 4 to elect the next state Secretary of State. Georgia holds runoffs when no candidate receives a majority of the vote in an election. We all saw Republican Secretary of State Kemp carry out his outrageous tactics of voter suppression while serving his term as Georgia's chief election official, undermining democracy to narrowly eke out a win to be the next Governor over Stacey Adams. Vote for Democrat John Barrow     in the Runoff and ensure Georgia's future elections are fair and every vote is counted!

Overseas voters can vote in the Runoff Election if you registered as "intend to return" and also requested a ballot for the General Election. You should have received a Statewide State Office Write-In Ballot (SWAB) with the absentee ballot for the General Election, or download the SWAB. Official ballots will be mailed to voters, but time is tight to mail your ballot back before the deadline, so vote now using the SWAB!

Georgia Runoff for Georgia Secretary of State: Tuesday, December 4

  • Ballot Return: by mail only, postmarked by Tue, Dec 4 and received by Fri, Dec 7 to be counted

Please share this information on to any Georgia voters you know. Voters flipped by electing Lucy McBath, and we can flip this office too. Democrats win when Democrats vote!

Send any questions to gotv@democratsabroad.org. And complete our 2018 Voter Survey about voting in the 2018 midterms to help make it easier to #votefromabroad.

 

SWAB Instructions for Georgia Overseas Voters

from http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/ballot_selection

  1. Write in the candidate's first and last name. 
  2. To ensure secrecy, place your folded ballot into a plain envelope and seal.
  3. Print and complete the required oath (PDF) statement. Place the completed oath and the sealed envelope into another outer envelope and seal. Write the words “Official Absentee Ballot” on the outer envelope. Failure to sign and return the oath will cause your SWAB to be rejected.
  4. Return the SWAB by mail to your local county registrar. The SWAB will not be accepted if it is returned by fax or email. All ballots postmarked by the runoff date will be counted if received by the county office within three days of the runoff election.