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.
U.S. citizens living abroad – where are you voting from? Have you registered to vote? Go to FVAP.gov to find your registration process and voting deadlines for your state.
IMPORTANT: U.S. citizens abroad must submit a new FPCA each year to vote in U.S. elections. Submit your FPCA at the beginning of the calendar year, or at least 45 days before an election, to allow ample 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.
Voting eligibility and residency requirements are determined by individual U.S. states. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) for more information regarding your state of legal residence. Your “state of legal residence” for voting purposes is generally the state where you last resided immediately prior to departure from the United States. Voting rights extend to overseas citizens even though they may no longer own property or have other ties to their last state of residence, and even if an intent to return to that state may be uncertain. For those U.S. citizens who have never resided in the United States, eighteen states allow eligible U.S. citizens to register where a parent would be eligible to vote.
Generally, all U.S. citizens 18 years and older who are or will be residing outside the United States during an election period are eligible to vote absentee in any election for federal office. This includes primary, run-off and special elections that occur throughout the year, as well as the Presidential general elections. Some states also allow overseas voters to vote in elections for state and local offices, as well as for state and local referendums.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in U.S. elections:
- Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF 321 KB). You must complete a new FPCA to ensure you receive your ballot. 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 (PDF 321 KB) is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
- 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 whether your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or whether you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.
- Research 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. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.
- 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
- 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 paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you may return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense or you may return your U.S. postage-paid ballot to the U.S. Embassy at least two weeks before Election Day.
For the 2024 General Election, registered voters may submit forms and ballots to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik, and we will mail it through the Diplomatic Pouch. Please note: Mail from the U.S. Embassy in Iceland takes at least two weeks to reach its destination in the United States, so please drop off ballots no later than October 14, 2024, to ensure your ballot reaches its destination in time. Ballots must be fully addressed and sealed in postage-paid envelopes or with sufficient domestic U.S. postage to your relevant local election officials. Ballots may be dropped at the U.S. Embassy any day Monday through Friday between 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. The American Citizen Services unit at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik is also available to answer questions about absentee voting through email: Consular Section.
Remember, your vote counts!