Voter Registration & Requesting an Absentee Ballot Every Year
On the landing page of the FVAP website, click “Get Started” to direct you to an online Federal Postcard Application and instructions for your state of residence.
Important Note: States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle, so everyone who wants to vote in U.S. elections from overseas should send in a new Federal Post Card Application in January of each year.
Include your email address on the form so it’s easier for election officials to reach you if there is a problem. If your state delivers ballots electronically by fax only, be sure to include your fax number. If you request electronic delivery and include your email address or fax number, you’ll receive your blank ballot 45 days before general and mid-term elections and generally 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot.
Return your completed ballot as early as possible. Be aware of your state’s deadlines and consider any possible delays in mail delivery.
The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) serves as an emergency ballot for voters who registered in time but fail to receive an official ballot from local election officials. You can access the FWAB on http://www.fvap.gov/ as well.
Voting is Now Easier than Ever Before:
Absentee Voting Basics
Absentee voting is a simple two-step process.
- Every year, you send in a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials.
- They confirm your eligibility to vote and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year.
- They send you a blank absentee ballot electronically, by fax, or by mail.
- You complete the ballot and send it back so it arrives before your state’s ballot return deadline.
- If you don’t receive your blank ballot 30 days before an election, don’t wait any longer; use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote.
Registration/Absentee Ballot Request
To vote from abroad, you have to register to vote with local election officials in your state of legal (voting) residence, AND every year you have to request to receive an absentee ballot. You can use one form to do both – the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). If you change your name, address, email, or name, submit a new FPCA.
You can always return your FPCA by mail. In addition, most states allow you to return your FPCA by fax or email. (See Voting and Returning Your Ballot options). Consult the online FVAP Voting Assistance Guide for your state’s instructions.
Need help? You can get help from an Embassy Voting Assistance Officer by making an appointment. Visit our website to make an American Citizens Services appointment.
Questions? Please contact the U.S. Embassy’s Voting Assistance Officer at +255 22 229 4122 (Mon-Thurs from 2-4 p.m. or Fri from 8-10 a.m., or by emailing: VoteDarEsSalaam@state.gov).