Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for the House and Senate have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? 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.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the upcoming November election!
1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2020 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2020 elections. 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. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. 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). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return the FPCA paper version, please see below for mailing options.
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.
3. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper FPCA forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, or professional courier service, or through the American Citizens Services unit at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.
If your state provides you with a prepaid envelope that covers domestic postal charges, we, the U.S. Embassy, will use the diplomatic post office (DPO) to mail your FPCA form or ballot to the United States, from where it will then be covered by the prepaid envelope. If you do not have a prepaid envelope, or choose to use your own envelope, we will still mail it to the United States for you, but you need to provide sufficient U.S. postage to cover domestic shipping charges.
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 and ballots for processing, and you must show a valid photo ID and wait until your envelope has been scanned before you leave. We will send your signed, sealed FPCA forms or ballot 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 before October 12, 2020.
If it’s more convenient for you, you can also return your FPCA form or ballot to your local election officials entirely on your own, via international mail or professional courier service, at your own expense.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the internet to locate articles and information.
Remember, your vote counts!