Message for U.S. Citizens: 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 election are as early as October 5. 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.
If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or through U.S. Embassy Dili’s diplomatic pouch. The diplomatic pouch provides free mail service from embassies and consulates to a U.S. sorting facility. You will need to place your ballots in postage-paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage, for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. sorting facility.
If you plan to use the diplomatic pouch, drop off your ballots to the American Citizens Services section of U.S. Embassy Dili during routine consular hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00a.m. to 12:00p.m., excluding holidays. Please note that all visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening and you will not be permitted to bring electronic devices, including cell phones, inside the facility. Furthermore, it can take several weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent by an embassy or consulate via diplomatic pouch. All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly. Ballots will be received and forwarded whenever submitted but you may want to consider using a courier service if submitting your ballot close to or after the stated delivery time for pouch mail.
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 social media accounts 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 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.
- Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
See the above instructions for dropping off an FPCA or ballot in person at the U.S. Embassy in Dili.
If it’s more convenient, you can have a friend or family member drop off your FPCA at the Embassy 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 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.
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 do not 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 if 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.
To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (email@example.com). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Dili’s Voting Assistance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +670 7731-2463.