The 2020 Election Season has begun – Register to Vote and Request Your Absentee Ballots at FVAP.gov now for the states below.
The following states have elections in the next 90 days:
P- Presidential Primary S- State Primary
February 2020 – 60 Day Notice:
February 11: New Hampshire (P)
February 29: South Carolina (P-Democratic Only)
March 2020 – 90 Day Notice:
March 3: Alabama (P, S); Arkansas (P, S); California (P); Colorado (P); Maine (P); Massachusetts (P); Minnesota (P); North Carolina (P, S); Oklahoma (P); Tennessee (P); Texas (P, S), Utah (P); Vermont (P); Virginia (P)
March 10: Idaho (P); Mississippi (P, S); Michigan (P); Missouri (P); Washington (P)
March 17: Arizona (P); Florida (P); Illinois (P, S); Ohio (P, S); Oklahoma (P)
March 24: Georgia (P)
March 29: Puerto Rico (P-Democratic Only)
March 31: Alabama (State Runoff); Arkansas (State Runoff); Mississippi (State Runoff)
NOTE: Due to the fact that you should request your primary ballot from the above states before December 31, 2019, it is recommended that you send in a second ballot request after January 1, 2020 to ensure you will receive ballots for all other elections in 2020.
To register and request your ballot, fill out the FPCA using FVAP’s easy online assistant (fvap.gov/r3/fpca/state). You may also use the fillable PDF (fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fpca.pdf) or pick up a hardcopy version from a Voting Assistance Officer on your installation or at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s American Citizen Services Office.
FVAP recommends that all military members and their eligible family members away from their voting jurisdiction, as well as U.S. citizens overseas, send in an FPCA in January to ensure receipt of absentee ballots for all federal office elections in 2020.
Not voting in the states listed above? Find your state’s primary election dates on the FVAP.gov website (fvap.gov/guide/appendix/state-elections). To find your state’s election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices, visit FVAP’s contact page (fvap.gov/info/contact).
*The Department of Defense is required to send this email notification monthly, starting 90 days before each election for federal office. You will receive these messages through the 2020 General Election.
If you would like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or need help with the absentee voting process, please go to FVAP.gov or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email (email@example.com).
Mailing Voting Materials to the US from Iraq
Any U.S. Citizen, regardless of employer, may use the Military Postal Service facilities (MPS), Diplomatic Post Office (DPO), or diplomatic pouch for sending balloting materials to the U. S. This includes post card applications, ballots, voting instructions, and envelopes.
If you do not have DPO privileges, you may use this address as your return address and the address for receiving your absentee ballot:
Unit 6060 Box # 72
DPO, AE 09870
Please include your email/ company name so the DPO can notify you.
For U.S. Citizens outside the Embassy, the same address may be used. Please provide a contact name and number where you can be reached for notification when your absentee ballot arrives. To drop off your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at the U.S. Embassy Baghdad Consular Section drop box, please set up an appointment online specifically for drop off.
To ensure timely delivery of your ballot, please mail it by October 8, 2016 if you are using the diplomatic pouch.
Please note if using DHL, under favorable conditions, it takes at least one week for an envelope to arrive in the U.S. The estimated cost of sending a 1/2 kg envelope to the U.S. is $60.
Help Spread the Word About Overseas Voting
Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot. Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.
If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy – just follow these steps:
1. Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.
The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. No matter which state you vote in, we encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.
2. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
If you live outside of the Embassy Compound, please schedule an appointment with American Citizen Services to drop off your FPCA.
If it’s more convenient for you, you can have a friend or family member drop off your FPCA at the Embassy on your behalf or you can send your FPCA or ballot directly to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
3. Receive Your Ballot
After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (on or around September 24) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.
4. Return Your Ballot
As with the FPCA, you can return your voted ballot to your local election officials free of charge via the nearest embassy or consulate or mail it directly at your own expense. See the information above for mailing options.
Your Vote Counts
Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline (differs by state).
Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, and search the Internet to locate articles and information.
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Charles Hendrix or Jovi Taruc, Voting Assistance Officers at VoteBaghdad@state.gov.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Iraq Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, located on Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad, at 0770 443-1286 (+964 770-443-1286 from outside Iraq) 24 hours a day to report an emergency, and 0760-030-4400 (+964 760-030-4400) for pre-recorded information regarding services for U.S. citizens.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For official information on overseas absentee voting, please visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website. If you have specific voting questions about overseas absentee voting in Iraq, please e-mail us.
Absentee Voting Basics
- Submit a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to local election officials
- Local election officials confirm your eligibility to vote, and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots
- Local election officials send you a blank absentee ballot by mail and make it available electronically
- Complete the ballot and return it to local election officials before the ballot receipt deadline
- If your ballot fails to arrive, use the emergency federal write-in 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 should ask to receive absentee ballots. You can use one form to do both – the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Submit a new FPCA every time you move, change your address, change your e-mail, or change your name.
To complete and address the form, go to either the FVAP or the Overseas Vote Foundation website where an online assistant will walk you through the process. You can also pick up an FPCA and a copy of your state’s requirements from any U.S. embassy or consulate, or from many overseas U.S. citizen civic or political groups.
Your state may allow you to submit your FPCA via mail, fax, or e-mail. (See Voting and Returning Your Ballot below for options.) Consult the online FVAP Voting Assistance Guide for your state’s current requirements. If you need help completing or submitting the form, contact Baghdad’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteBaghdad@state.gov, or check additional resources available on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.
Receiving Your Blank Absentee Ballot
The law now requires states to send ballots to overseas citizens 45 days before the general election, except under emergency circumstances. The timeframe for mailing out ballots for other elections is shorter. The law also requires states to make your blank ballots available electronically either by fax, e-mail, or internet download. On the FPCA, there is space for you to let local officials know how you would like to receive your ballots. Depending on your state and your status abroad, you may receive absentee ballots for all elections, or just ballots for elections for federal offices only.
Voting and Returning Your Ballot
Complete your ballot carefully and legibly, and return it to your local election officials before your state’s ballot receipt deadline. Overseas voters have a number of options for returning voted ballots:
- Local mail – If you live in an area with efficient mail service to the United States, you can affix sufficient international postage to your ballot envelope and mail it promptly.
- Fax, E-mail, or Internet – A number of states now allow the return of voted ballots via electronic means. Consult the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide for electronic transmission options for your state.
- Express Courier Service – If time is short or local mail is unreliable, you can use professional courier services such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS. Check the Overseas Vote Foundation website for information about reduced rates for voters. NOTE: FedEx does not deliver to P.O. boxes.
- From the U.S. Embassy: Because regular commercial mail from Iraq can be very slow, if your state does not allow you to return your ballot electronically, you may drop your ballot off at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for return to the United States.
Using an Emergency Write-In Ballot
Don’t be a passive voter and wait for a ballot that may not reach you in time. If you followed all the right steps but still haven’t received your ballot 30 days before the election, you should complete and submit a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Contact U.S. Embassy Baghdad Voting Assistance Officer at the VoteBaghdad@state.gov for help, or download the FWAB here. Complete the FWAB by writing in the candidates of your choice and sending the completed form to your local election officials. If your regular absentee ballot arrives later, fill it out and mail it back as well. Your FWAB will be counted only if your regular ballot doesn’t reach your local election officials by your state’s ballot receipt deadline. Proper submission of both ballots will not invalidate your vote or result in two votes being cast.
Most U.S. citizens 18 years or older who reside outside the United States are eligible to vote absentee for candidates for federal offices in U.S. primary and general elections. In addition, some states allow overseas citizens to vote for candidates for state and local offices, as well as for state and local referendums. For information regarding your specific state, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide or the Overseas Vote Foundation website. The Overseas Vote Foundation is a non-partisan voter advocacy organization.
Each U.S. state has its own voting eligibility and residency requirements. Visit the FVAP website for information regarding your state of legal residence. For voting purposes, your legal residence is generally the state in which you resided immediately before leaving the United States, even if you no longer own or rent property or intend to return to that state in the future. Some states specifically allow U.S. citizens who have never resided in the United States to register where a parent would be eligible to vote. Direct your questions about eligibility to your local election officials.
Role of Local Election Officials
All elections in the United States are run at the state and local level. Local election officials in your state of legal (voting) residence receive your FPCA and verify your eligibility to register/vote in that locality. If they have questions about your form or your eligibility to vote using the U.S. address you’ve provided, they’ll e-mail you. It’s smart to send in your form early (ideally, at the beginning of the calendar year, or least forty-five days before the election) to provide time to process your request and resolve any problems. Once approved, your name will be put on a list of voters to receive absentee ballots.
Verifying Your Registration
Many states now have websites where you can verify your registration. If you are unsure of your voter registration status, or want to confirm that local officials have received and approved your registration, check the FVAP website for a directory of available state voter registration verification websites. You can also call or write your local election officials directly.
Be an Educated Voter
Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues you care about. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues is widely available and easy to obtain via numerous websites such as Project Vote Smart. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts. FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Voting and Taxes
Voting for candidates for federal offices does not affect your federal or state tax liability. Voting for candidates for state or local offices could affect your state tax liability. Consult legal counsel if you have questions.
Summary of Recent Changes to Absentee Voting
Recent legislation eliminated a requirement for states to send out absentee ballots for successive election cycles based on a single request. To be assured that your request for absentee ballots is current, FVAP urges voters to submit new FPCAs every year. Beginning with the November 2010 general elections, states and territories are now required to send ballots to overseas citizens 45 days before an election except under emergency circumstances. They are also required to make your blank ballot available electronically either by fax, e-mail, or internet download.