Imagine your first month abroad: you arrive, you’ve got a million things going on — places to go, sights to see, people to meet, food to eat — so registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot just isn’t on your list. We know exactly how that feels, which is why we’re here.
We hear you’re about to embark on one of the best experiences of your life! We just came back from ours. If you’re like us, you know how important the upcoming election is. Before we left the U.S., we hadn’t done much research on the process to vote from abroad.
In case you were not aware, yes, you can vote from abroad! Awesome, right? We thought so, too. Here are a few simple steps to vote.
1. Register and Request a Ballot
Mailing Deadline: October 24, 2016
Rock the Vote has a convenient website to help you register and request your ballot. To get your ballot, you have to know your residential address abroad.
You’ll be asked a series of questions that makes filling in the form a breeze and the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) is generated for you to print, sign and mail. A prepaid U.S. postage label addressed to your local election official (the person responsible for sending you your ballot) is also printed. You’ll have to add the additional postage if you’re abroad. Watch this video for a 3-minute overview of the process.
2. Vote and Mail your Ballot
Mailing Deadline: November 8, 2016
Once you’ve sent back your FPCA, you can verify your voter registration status with your local elections office. After this, you can expect your ballot to be mailed to your current address abroad so you can participate in the upcoming election! Be sure to mail your ballot early enough to account for mail delivery times.
3. Get help if you need it
Got questions? Message the helpful admins on our Facebook group for a quick response.
Some frequently asked questions and answers include:
- Federal Postcard Application — works as both a voter registration form and a ballot request form
- US Address — the last place you lived; either your home address, or at school
- Current Address — where you’ll stay abroad; this is where your ballot will be sent
- Email Option — USE IT! It’s faster and more convenient
- ID Number — your state driver’s license number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security
- Party Preference — required to vote in closed primaries, otherwise not necessary
- Ballot Return — even if you email your ballot, you’ll need to print, sign and mail it