VOTING IS NOW EASIER THAN EVER BEFORE
Now all U.S. citizens can receive their blank ballots electronically. Depending on the state in which you are eligible to vote, you may get your ballot by email, fax, or internet download. To start, go to www.FVAP.gov to complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), print and sign the form then return it to your local election office in the United States. We recommend overseas U.S. citizens get in the habit of completing FPCAs each January. You should include your email address on the form so it’s easier for your election officials to reach you if there is a problem. If your state delivers ballots electronically by fax only, be sure to include your fax number. If you request electronic delivery and include your email address or fax number, you’ll receive your blank ballot 45 days before general and mid-term elections and generally 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot.
IMPORTANT NOTE: States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle. U.S.citizens who want to vote in U.S. elections from overseas should send in a new Federal Post Card Application in January of each year.
Absentee Voting Week is October 1-8, 2022
Absentee Voting Week is October 1-8, 2022
Be an Active Voter by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2022 U.S. elections and participating in Absentee Voting Week!
In some states voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2022 are as early as October 5th. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) each year to ensure you are able to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.
If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2022 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon if you have not already received it. If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request you should contact your local election officials in the United States or check the status of your registration via your state’s voter registration verification website.
You can get voting assistance from the embassy or drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, during the following hours:
Mondays or Fridays 10 am – 12 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm.
If you need assistance outside of these hours, please write to
Normal transit time from Tallinn to the United States is three weeks.
HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING
Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot. Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.
If you have never voted while overseas before, it is not too late. The process is easy – just follow these steps:
- Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.
The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. No matter which state you vote in, 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). Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.
2. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
Drop off your FPCA or ballot in person at:
U.S. Embassy in Tallinn on
Mondays or Fridays 10 am – 12 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm.
If it’s more convenient for you, you can have a friend or family member drop off your FPCA at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn on your behalf or you can send your FPCA or ballot directly to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
- Receive Your Ballot
After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (September 24) for federal office(President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.
- Return Your Ballot
We recommend that if you plan to return your paper ballot to your election officials via the U.S. embassy, please return your ballot to them by October 8 to account for transit times between overseas posts and local voting districts. If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a postage-paid envelope or envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. You can download the postage paid envelope from the FVAP.gov website and drop off your ballot at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn or make an appointment at ACSTallinn@state.gov if you need assistance.
If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot too. Only one will be counted.
After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.
Your Vote Counts
Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. 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 (differs by state).
Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, and search the Internet to locate articles and information.
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Tallinn’s Voting Assistance Officer at: ACSTallinn@state.gov
Absentee Voting Basics
Absentee voting is a simple 2 step process.
1. Every year, voters send in a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to their local election officials who will:
- confirm your eligibility to vote, and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year.
- send you a blank absentee ballot electronically or by mail.
2(a). Voters complete the ballot and return it before their state’s ballot deadline.
2(b). If voters have not received their blank ballot 30 days before an election, they should use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote. See the section on FWAB below.
Receiving Your Blank Absentee Ballot
Forty-five days before the November general elections, your state will either send your blank ballot to you electronically, or mail it to the address you provided on your FPCA.
Ballots are generally mailed out only 30 days before primary, special and run-off elections. Depending on your state and your status abroad, you may receive absentee ballots for all elections or abbreviated ballots for elections for federal offices only.
Voting and Returning Your Ballot
Complete your ballot carefully and legibly, and return it to your local election officials before your state’s ballot receipt deadline. Send it back as early as possible.
Overseas voters have a number of options for returning voted ballots:
- Local mail: If you have good mail service to the United States, put your ballot in the mail with appropriate international postage.
- U.S. Embassy Pouch/APO/FPO: You can drop off your ballot request or voted ballot at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for return to the United States, or you can have someone drop it off for you, It must be addressed to your local election officials and have sufficient postage or be in a postage-paid envelope. A postage-paid envelope is available on the FVAP web site. Contact the voting assistance officer or visit the Embassy website for specific instructions.
- Fax, Email, or Internet: A number of states now allow the electronic return of voted ballots. Consult the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide for electronic transmission options for your state.
- Express Courier Service: If time is short or local mail is unreliable, you can use professional courier services such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS. NOTE: FedEx does not deliver to P.O. boxes.
Using an Emergency Write-in Ballot
Don’t be a passive voter and wait for a ballot that may not reach you in time. If you followed all the right steps but still haven’t received your ballot 30 days before the election, you should complete and submit a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Contact the Voting Assistance Officer at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for help, or visit FVAP.gov to complete the FWAB using their online wizard. Write in the candidates of your choice, and send it to your local election official. If your regular absentee ballot arrives later, fill it out and send it back too. Your FWAB will be counted only if your regular ballot doesn’t reach your local election officials by your state’s deadline. Following this procedure will not invalidate your vote or result in two votes being cast.
Almost all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who reside outside the United States are eligible to vote absentee for candidates for federal offices in U.S. primary and general elections. In addition, some states allow overseas citizens to vote for candidates for state and local offices, as well as for state and local referendums. For information regarding your specific state, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide or the Overseas Vote Foundation website. The Overseas Vote Foundation is a non-partisan voter advocacy organization.
For voting purposes, your state of legal residence is generally the state wherein you resided immediately before leaving the United States, even if you no longer own or rent property or intend to return there in the future.Some states and the District of Columbia specifically allow U.S. citizens who have never resided in the United States to register where a parent would be eligible to vote. Direct your questions about eligibility to your local election officials.
Role of Local Election Officials
All elections in the United States are run at the state and local level. If local election officials have questions about your form, they’ll contact you. It’s smart to send in your form early (ideally, at the beginning of the calendar year, or at least forty-five days before the election) to provide 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.
Verifying Your Registration
States are now required to have websites where you can verify your registration. If you are unsure of your voter registration status, or want to confirm that local officials have received and approved your registration, check the FVAP website for a directory of state voter registration verification websites. You can also call or write your local election officials directly.
Voting and Taxes
Voting for candidates for federal offices does not affect your federal or state tax liability. Voting for candidates for state or local offices could affect your state tax liability. Consult legal counsel if you have questions.