VOTING GUIDANCE FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS IN SOUTH AFRICA
1 SEPTEMBER 2022 – v1
Voting in the 2022 US Midterm Elections from South Africa
The Midterms are here! This document aims to provide you with guidance and resources to facilitate the process of voting from South Africa.
If you're a U.S. citizen or dual-national abroad, you have the right to vote from abroad in the 2022 midterm elections and every election. If you are or will be 18 on November 8, 2022, you can vote in the upcoming elections.
IMPORTANT: Each state has different rules, timeframes and processes. Please check your state-specific information now and plan. Follow your state’s timeframes and procedures carefully to ensure your 2022 vote counts!
More than half of the states now allow for electronic transmission of ballots from overseas voters but other states require “mail-in / postal” return of ballots. If your state requires mail-in-/postal return, please see the options below. Please do not use regular international post from South Africa.
VOTE FROM ABROAD (VFA) and the FEDERAL VOTING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (FVAP)
We suggest voters use Vote from Abroad (VFA) (www.votefromabroad.org), a nonpartisan service of Democrats Abroad, to request your ballot and access your state info. However, you can also use resources from the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) (www.fvap.gov). You’ll see references to FVAP here and in information from the US Consulates in South Africa.
Vote from Abroad (VFA) www.votefromabroad.org
Get started now:
1. Request your overseas absentee ballot - start on the homepage to complete your Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) and submit it. Submit the FPCA annually. If you’re not registered to vote, the FPCA also serves as a registration form.
2. Check your state’s voting procedures and timeframes – make a voting plan!
3. Answer any questions from the FAQs section or ask for help.
VOTING FROM SOUTH AFRICA
VOTING OPTIONS FOR SOUTH AFRICA
- Electronic for the States that allow
- US Consulate Diplomatic Pouch (by 27 Sept latest)
- Backup FWAB (prior to 24th Sept, or after, if absentee ballot not received)
- Please do not use regular international post from South Africa
Ballot Day - Absentee ballots should be received by email (if requested prior to this date)
24 Sept – 4 Oct
Vote! Complete & return your ballot
Drop-off deadlines for voters from states that require mail-in / postal submission who wish to use the diplomatic pouch service of the US Consulates in Cape Town, Durban or Joburg
Strongly suggested deadline for all DASA voters to have submitted their ballots
REGISTER AND REQUEST YOUR BALLOT
REQUEST YOUR BALLOT / REGISTER TO VOTE
Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
If you have not already applied for an absentee ballot this year, please do so now. You can do this via www.votefromabroad.org
- You can use your last residence in the US or your parents’ address
- If you have never lived in the US but are eligible to vote, click here https://www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter/reside
- Make sure to fill in all sections
- Selecting “Intend to return” will provide you with access to the full ballot (state and federal). For more info click here: https://www.votefromabroad.org/faqs/FP2
- Ensure you provide a South African address and a phone number
- Select “Receive absentee ballot by email” and ensure your email address is clear
- Make sure you have signed the FPCA (they will compare this signature with the one on your ballot)
IMPORTANT DATE: 24 September 2022
If you’ve requested your absentee ballot, it will be sent to you via email by 24 September – Ballot Day – 45 days before the election. If you have not received it by the 26th, please contact your local officials.
COMPLETING AND SUBMITTING YOUR BALLOT
IMPORTANT DATES: 24 September – 4 October 2022
It comes down to the number of people who actually vote. Please vote! Every absentee ballot is always counted (not just in close elections)
- Follow the instructions for your ballot carefully and completely!
- Ensure your handwriting is legible.
- Make sure you sign and date your ballot.
- Confirm that your ballot has been received and counted by emailing your local official or using the state’s online portal.
- State-specific info available at https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/
- Regardless of how you send in your ballot, remember that you (the voter) must be the one who places it in the mail. In some states, it is unlawful for any other person to handle your voted ballot, even if it is sealed.
ELECTRONIC BALLOT RETURN
About half of the states now provide options for voters to return their ballots electronically.
See what your state requires: https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/
If your state allows for electronic ballot return, we strongly suggest you use it. More info here https://www.votefromabroad.org/faqs/BL3
- If returning by fax or email: return each ballot separately.
- If sending via fax – where allowed by specific states:
If you don’t have access to a fax machine, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) offers a free email-to-fax service. You will need to email your ballot and any required supporting materials (see your state’s instructions) to [email protected] using the FVAP fax transmission coversheet at: www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/coversheet.pdf FVAP will then fax your election materials to your Local Election Officials.
POSTAL / MAIL-IN RETURN REQUIRED
See what your state requires: https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/
If your state requires you to return your ballot by mail / post we have two options from South Africa – courier or diplomatic pouch.
Please do not use regular international post from South Africa.
If sending via the US Consulate Diplomatic Pouch:
The Diplomatic Pouch has been a great way to send our ballots in past years and the US Consulates in South Africa are providing this service in 2022 but it takes time and when the ballots reach the US they then travel by US Postal Service so they require postage and the complete process can take several weeks – we highly suggest the drop-off deadline of Tuesday 27 September.
You’ll see in Consulate communication they suggest drop off earlier but most of us will only receive our ballots by 24 September and they have communicated with DASA that 27 September (6 wks before the 8 Nov election) should be safe.
- Follow your ballot instructions carefully!
- You can print the postage-paid envelopes at https://www.fvap.gov/eo/overview/materials/forms
- Friends may have stamps to share
- If sending back more than one ballot via the diplomatic bag - close and seal each ballot separately. Drop off individually sealed ballots in pre-paid postage envelopes or with a US postage stamp (domestic postage) at your local Consulate (by Sept 27)
- If you hope to mail your overseas absentee ballot from within the US, please contact your Local Election Officer to confirm that it will be accepted. All states have different rules.
You do not need an appointment to drop off your ballot for the diplomatic pouch
U.S. Consulate General Johannesburg
1 Sandton Drive, Sandton
Email questions to: [email protected]
U.S. Consulate General Cape Town
2 Reddam Avenue, Steenberg Estate, Cape Town
Email questions to: [email protected]
U.S. Consulate General Durban
Main lobby of Delta Towers (located near Nando's), Durban Central
Email questions to: [email protected]
If sending by Courier:
- We suggest sending it by 4 October (don’t wait till it’s late!)
- If sending back more than one ballot by courier to the same local officials- close and seal each ballot separately. Then put all into the courier envelope.
- You must ask for a postmark or date stamp to be placed on the outer envelope.
- We do not recommend booking or paying online for courier service. You will not receive a postmark if you book or pay online.
- Track your package to ensure it’s delivered on time and confirm it’s been received.
IF YOU WANT TO VOTE EARLY OR YOU DON’T RECEIVE YOUR BALLOT
Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)
A backup ballot
As long as you have already applied for your absentee ballot the FWAB serves as a backup ballot if 1) you want to vote extra early or 2) your ballot doesn’t arrive on time.
- If you’ve requested your ballot but don’t see it in your email (by 26 Sept) – first check your spam folder – it will come from your local election official
- Make sure to fill in the form carefully and completely
- Sign the form with the same signature you used on your absentee ballot application
- Write in the names of the candidates of your choice. If you have not received your list of candidates, you can write in “Democrat” for all. This list should be available in Sept after primaries are concluded. It will be sent out with absentee ballots or you can request from local officials.
- Make sure you sign the secrecy page too.
HELP AVAILABLE FROM DEMOCRATS ABROAD & VOTE FROM ABROAD
Help is available!
State by State Info - https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/
FAQs - https://www.votefromabroad.org/faqs/ You’ll find the answers to most questions here!
Global Help Desk Email - [email protected]
Helpdesk - This icon on the bottom right of the VFA website opens the chat/help function – it’s staffed by experienced Democrats Abroad/VFA Volunteers living around the world.
Democrats Abroad South Africa (DASA) will be available to assist but we are not experts and every state has different rules, so we strongly encourage you to use the above resources to prepare and to do so early. We will regularly share info and updates on our WhatsApp group and social media, please stay connected. You can contact DASA for help at
It’s very important to vote your ballot completely. The simplest way is to vote for Democrats straight down the ballot. Some elected positions do not have a party affiliation directly associated with the party, like school boards, judges, and others. To determine who to vote for in those cases, you can do the following:
- Google your local US Democratic Party
- League of Women Voters offers a personalized ballot service at https://www.vote411.org/ballot. You can learn where candidates running for office in your community stand on the issues. You can print or email the information to use as a reference when you vote.
- Google: Ballotpedia "your state" elections 2022 - Example: Ballotpedia Florida elections 2022
- You can Google the candidate's name to find their campaign website and information about each person.
Every vote counts! Please vote.
Democrats Abroad South Africa
Notice of Annual General Meeting
Democrats Abroad South Africa
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to all members of Democrats Abroad South Africa (DASA) that:
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members will be held virtually on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 6:00pm SA time to consider and act upon the following matters:
- Approval of the minutes of the last Annual General Meeting
- Report from the Chair for the preceding year
- Treasurer’s Report on accounts for the period January 2021 – March 2022
- Special Election to fill Executive Committee vacancies (for the period 2022 – 2023)
- Consideration of other matters as may properly come before the meeting
Any member of DASA is eligible to submit their candidacy for the four open positions on the Executive Committee: Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and (1) Member-at-Large.
With 2022 a critical election year we need all hands on deck and encourage members interested in joining our leadership team to submit a CV, short motivation and which position(s) you’re running for. We’re looking for candidates who will play a proactive leadership role and have time to contribute regularly for a one-year tenure.
To be considered for a vacancy, you must be a member of DASA for at least 14 days prior to the AGM (March 15th). If you’re unsure of your current membership status, please confirm directly with Bradley Jackson, DASA Chair. Those new to Democrats Abroad are invited to join by February 28th at https://www.democratsabroad.org/join to be eligible.
The Nominations and Election Committee (NEC) is accepting nominations, please submit your candidacy via email to [email protected]. The nominations and elections committee will gladly discuss any aspect of serving on the Executive Committee and answer any questions you may have about DASA.
Please submit your candidacy for the interested office on or before midnight on February 22nd.
Ballots for the Exco Special elections will be sent out to all DASA members on February 24th.
Every DASA member is invited and encouraged to attend the AGM.
Hope to see you all on the March 15th!
From DA South Africa
In the Spirit of Democracy: The Life of Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu
Robert H. Kelley III
December 26, 2021
Living on the continent of Africa for over 26 years has been the center of my pastoral education and maturity. As a pastor for the last twenty years in South Africa, it is easy to profess that the work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu had a profound impact on my development and perceptions of the role of a pastor and their challenges after the Sunday Services. The life of Archbishop Tutu addressed the universal question of how does a pastor journey with his congregation and meet people at their place of need? Archbishop Desmond Tutu found the answer that resonated with many bishops, pastors, professors and authors. He seemed to espouse the idea that spiritual leadership required one simply to use the Bible as a guide to create change and inspire reconciliation in one’s community.
The celebrated and globally recognized leadership of Archbishop Desmond Tutu exemplified a life determined to improve the lives and conditions of all people. Equally significant, his undeniable quest to see that South Africa, as a nation, achieved the highest principles of freedom, governance, and democracy was a clear calling from which he never retreated. The archbishop served as a clarion voice, outlining the call for a balanced society, rift with the injustices of the Apartheid era.
The passing of South Africa’s renowned spiritual leader has led to deep reflection for nations around the world. Not only did Archbishop Tutu serve as a spiritually led conscientious objector for a government that held its majority population in economic, social and political chains, but his voice became a moral compass, globally, during the turbulent times in South Africa’s governance. Other nations also found relevance in his principles of political theology.
It cannot be overlooked that his inspiration also changed the concept of societal justice. He will be equally remembered for his fellowship with the country’s first democratic president, Nelson Mandela, in the cause for a better and just nation for the people of South Africa. This commitment to fighting for justice and love for everyone, irrespective of race, gender, class, or religion was a true hallmark of Archbishop Tutu’s legacy.
The spirit of this great leader is a bell that tolls for those who seek to strive continuously to achieve the highest form of democracy. His life was a symbol of truth, forgiveness, and reconcilement. His legacy firmly paves the way for all societies looking to achieve true and just democratic rule.
What might be equally important, is that Archbishop Desmond Tutu not only spoke for a newly-democratized South Africa, but also gave people a sense that democracy has divine roots. The notion that somehow democracy sits under the office of not simply a people, a vote and their rule, but rather under the office a higher authority. Through his foresight, nations have come to understand that democratic rule can assume a corrupt nature and masquerade under the idea that the government knows best. Archbishop Tutu had a way of helping all of humanity understand that a government is not a pure democracy based on what it does but rather what motivates a government to govern in the way they do. Through his vison we have learned to understand the value proposition of fair governing and the accompanying spirit of rule.
Finally, one cannot ignore the impact that Archbishop Desmond Tutu has had on hundreds of thousands of spiritual leaders across the globe in becoming outspoken activists of political theology in their own political jurisdictions. The archbishop’s life and principles have influenced my own life in many ways and I too strive to contribute toward democracy. I became a founder of Democrats Abroad South Africa (DASA) several years ago and am currently involved with the establishment of the Democrats Abroad Africa Committee, expanding our involvement across the continent. The idea remains that if a pastor from a small village in South Africa can change the policies of nations in a manner that improves the lives of people, why can’t Americans residing in South Africa and across the entire region do the same.
While Archbishop Tutu will be laid to rest and Africans, Americans and people from across the globe will mourn with his family and the nation of South Africa, his work will continue. It will continue in people that have been touched by his calling and passion for justice. Although the work is truly plentiful, the laborers are few. Yet, it only takes a few to make a difference; or even just one like Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Robert H. Kelley III is the co-founder of Democrats Abroad South Africa (DASA) and Director of Staffing for the Democrats Abroad Africa Committee, which supports the voting needs of Americans residing abroad in Africa. Robert Kelley also serves as Chairman and CEO of Crestmount International as an Africa-wide para-theological organization headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
Mary Tomlinson Oct 2021, Cape Town
The pen is mightier than the sword is a motto that we Democrats should all adopt. For Democrats living abroad, who feel totally locked out of our political system, putting concerns, frustrations and recommendations to paper, or in this day and age sending an email, can be an antidote to the anxiety, dread and fear we are feeling about the slow death of our democracy.
I practically have my representatives, Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Susan DelBene, on Speed Dial. All of the members of the U.S. Congress have a web page and somewhere on it you will find a CONTACT ME link. I would highly recommend you use it. I have written many times about issues I am upset about, for example, the unfairness of taxation laws for people living overseas; police brutality; the need to bring the perpetrators of 6 January to justice and so on.