If you’re heading abroad for the fall term or are involved in a yearlong study abroad program that will have you overseas during elections in November, you may be wondering what your options are for voting while abroad.
The good news is your voice can still be heard during your time abroad through a process called “absentee voting.”
First things first, you should know that elections are always held in early November. Whether you’re voting for the primary elections or midterm elections, the process of voting abroad is the same. To make it easy, we’ve broken down the four steps you need to take to vote while abroad.
4 Steps to Voting While Abroad
Step 1 – Register to Vote
Register to vote in your home state if you have not already done so. If you can’t remember, check vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote. Voter registration deadlines vary by state, but plan to register at least 90 days ahead of time.
Step 2 – Request an Absentee Ballot
Submit an absentee ballot request using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Through this form, you can register to vote and request absentee ballots for the year. Each state differs in their requirements, but an online assistant will guide you through the process to request a ballot from your home state. Fvap.gov can also help you register to vote or update your voter info. The deadline to request a ballot for the federal elections is October 30th. Planning ahead is always recommended.
Step 3 – Fill Out Your Ballot
Once you receive your absentee ballot from your home state (either electronically or in the mail) complete it and submit it according to your state’s instructions. You will receive your ballot within 45 days of the election. For the upcoming federal elections, your completed ballot must be received by November 6, 2018.
Step 4 – High Five Yourself & Your Friends
Congratulate yourself on making your voice heard and exercising your right and responsibility as a US citizen.
Pretty simple huh?! If you have questions regarding your state laws for voting, you can find state-specific voting information here.
Once your abroad the USAC staff and the U.S. embassy are great resources if you have questions on how you can vote abroad.