The November 2020 U.S. elections are rapidly approaching and U.S. Citizens in Serbia can vote from abroad. Your vote counts! The U.S. Embassy is here to help you exercise your right to vote.
Casting your absentee ballot from abroad is a (3) step process that needs to be started as soon as possible!
Step 1: Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at FVAP.gov. The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. All FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
Pro Tip: Use FVAP’s easy online assistant to walk you through the FPCA based on your state. We encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state) as this is the fastest way for you to get your ballot. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state accepts the FPCA by email, mail, or fax. If you are required to mail your FPCA, see mailing options below.
Step 2: Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. Resources for researching candidates are outlined below.
Step 3: Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return your ballot by mail, you can do so via the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade. U.S. citizens can drop off their FPCA forms or completed ballots at the Consular Access gate at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, during normal working hours. U.S. Embassy guards will accept these forms or ballots for processing, and you must show a valid photo ID and wait until your envelope has been scanned before you leave.
Pro Tip: You can find postage-paid envelopes available for download at this link. Print one out, follow the instructions to fold it into an envelope, tape or seal this envelope, and you have a free postage-paid envelope for your ballot! If you do not use this postage-paid envelope, and choose to use your own envelope, we will still mail it to the United States, but you need to provide sufficient U.S. postage to cover domestic shipping charges.
We will send your signed, sealed FPCA forms or ballots via diplomatic post office (DPO) to the United States. Transit times can vary but may be up to 3-4 weeks so please plan ahead. Please be sure to drop your ballots off at the embassy by no later than October 14, 2020!
If it’s more convenient, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service, at your own expense.
Final Pro Tip: Please note that some states allow voters to request (and return) ballots electronically, either by fax or email. If your state offers this expedient option, you may want to consider it. Information on which states allow for electronic submission of ballots can be found at www.fvap.gov.
Remember, your vote counts!
Q: What is my U.S. voting residence address?
A: It’s usually the last place you lived before moving overseas. You do not need to have any current ties with this address. More information can be found at this link on the FVAP website.
Q: Can I vote in person at the Embassy?
A: No. Elections are run at the state level. You must communicate directly with your state to register, request a ballot, and vote as described above. However, we are happy to help you register and to send your voting materials to your state district office.
Q: Do I have to send in a separate application for each election?
A: The FPCA allows you to request an absentee ballot for all federal elections in the calendar year. Depending on your state, you may receive a ballot with local or state offices and initiatives as well (e.g., Governor, City Council). We recommend that you send in a new FPCA every January and each time you move.
Q: When will I get my ballot?
A: State election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election. If you asked to receive your ballot by email, it should arrive right away. Mailed ballots will take longer depending on the postal system in the country where you’re located.
Q: What if I don’t get a ballot?
A: If you don’t receive an absentee ballot in time to return it to your state, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as a backup ballot to vote for federal offices. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot as well. Your state will count only one.
Q: How can I send my form?
A: All states will accept your form by mail, but they vary on email and fax. Check your state’s requirements/guidelines at FVAP.gov. If you are required to mail your voting materials, please follow the instructions above.