• France's news in English
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: FVAP

Five things Americans should know about voting abroad

The Local · 20 Jul 2016, 08:53

Published: 20 Jul 2016 08:53 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

November 8th is just around the corner, and no matter where you are in the world, the US presidential election race has been impossible to ignore.

Even for those who haven’t lived in the country for years, there’s an unspoken sense that this election is different. That’s left many Americans feeling the urge (or perhaps it’s the need?) to have their voice heard on November 8th.

Tens of thousands of Americans voted from abroad in the 2012 election, and what we heard from them was surprising — they say the process is more straightforward than one would think.

Here’s what those voters say other Americans abroad need to know to vote in the 2016 elections, no matter where they are:

1. It’s only a two-step process

First, register to vote and request your ballot with one form.

It’s called the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You can get it at FVAP.gov. Once there, select the state or territory where you last resided (i.e., where you lived in the U.S. most recently) or where your parents did (some states allow you to vote absentee even if you’ve never resided in the US).

You can use the online assistant to help you fill out the form, or print it and fill it out by hand. Then send your FPCA to your election office.

If you want to participate in the November 8 General Election, it’s best to fill out and send in your FPCA by August 1st, 2016. Your state’s deadline may be later, which you can check on FVAP.gov.

Second, when your absentee ballot arrives, fill it out and send it to your election office. Make sure you sign the enclosed affidavit or envelope as required by your state.

For the General Election, send your ballot back by October 15th, 2016. 

2. You can do it anywhere

It doesn't matter if you're an American living in France, Germany, Spain, or the UK. You can register and request your ballot to be sent anywhere in the world.

And you can do much of the work with the online assistant (except printing and signing!). Most states accept the FPCA via email or online, and many will send you your blank ballot online too.

Hard copies of the FPCA are also available at your nearest US consulate or embassy.

3. You can get help filling out your FPCA online

FVAP’s online assistant offers tips on how to fill out the FPCA as you’re completing it. It makes filling out the form that much faster.

When you’re done, you can download the populated form, so all you have to do is print, sign and send in. All the instructions on where and how to send in your form by mail, email or fax — whatever your state allows — will be included.

4. It’s OK if you don’t get your ballot in time

If you don’t get your ballot in time to vote before the deadline, that’s no problem. Get a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) from FVAP.gov. Fill it out and send it like your regular ballot. There’s an online assistant to help you do this too!

5. You can check the status of your ballot

Want to make sure your election office received your ballot? You can check the status at FVAP.gov and see when your election office receives it.

Not exactly the complex process you thought it was, right? Be sure to fill out your FPCA by August 1st to participate. 


This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by the US Federal Voting Assistance Programme (FVAP).

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available