Message for U.S. Citizens: Voting Reminder for Americans Abroad
With election day fast approaching, we wish to remind U.S. citizens that now is the time to take the necessary steps to vote. With over three million American voters living overseas, absentee ballots truly have an impact. We encourage you to send your ballots as soon as possible to ensure your vote is counted!
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about voting from abroad:
Q: Should I show up at the embassy on November 3 to cast my ballot?
A: Please don’t! Embassies are not polling places and we don’t want you to miss your opportunity to vote. Elections are run at the state level, so you must communicate directly with your state to register, request an absentee ballot, and vote.
Q: Where should I start?
A: Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually, so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and more.
Q: Which state should I register with and what is my U.S. voting address?
A: A U.S. voting residence address is used to determine where you are eligible to vote. For overseas citizens, it is usually the last place you lived at in the U.S. before moving overseas. You do not need to have any current ties with this address. See more here.
Q: Can I vote if I have never lived in the United States?
A: Possibly. You can research your specific situation here.
Q: When will I receive my ballot?
A: Election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election. If you requested your ballot by email, then the ballot should arrive quickly. Mailed ballots will take longer.
Q: If my ballot doesn’t arrive in time, am I out of luck?
A: No, you can still vote! If you do not receive an absentee ballot in time to return it to your state, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot as a backup to vote for federal offices. If your official absentee ballot arrives after you send in the FWAB, then you can fill out and send in the official ballot as well. Your state will count only one.
Q: How should I return my ballot?
A: Follow your state’s instructions and check your state’s deadlines here. Many states allow ballots to be returned electronically. If you must return your ballot by mail, the U.S. Embassy can help. Email us at ACSTallinn@state.gov or call 668 8100 to schedule a time to drop off your signed ballot in a sealed postage paid envelope. Please note that mailing times from the Embassy to the U.S. can be up to 5 weeks so we encourage you to drop off ballots no later than September 27. You may also mail your ballot directly to your state’s election office by international mail or professional courier service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc).