SPECIAL UPDATE FOR THE NOVEMBER 3, 2020 GENERAL ELECTION:
Due to postal delays in many countries related to the global pandemic, we recommend that voters submit the Backup Ballot – the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) right away if they vote in states that require ballots to be returned by postal mail.
There are 20 states that require most overseas voters to return their ballots by mail:
Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois
Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire
New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota
Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin
The Backup Ballot is specifically for overseas voters to use in uncertain circumstances. Submitting a Backup Ballot now will preserve your vote in the event that international mail to the US is disrupted during this election.
For detailed instructions how to use a Backup Ballot, please go here: www.votefromabroad.org/fwab
To check your state’s requirements for ballot return, please go here: www.votefromabroad.org/states
If you successfully submitted a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to request your ballot, your state is required to send out your ballot 45 days before the election (or within a few days of receiving your FPCA form). For the November General Elections, ballots are typically sent out by the third week of September.
(To verify your FPCA was received and approved, see FAQ #19 (“How Do I Check If I Am Registered To Vote And My Ballot Request Form Was Received So That I’ll Receive An Overseas Ballot?”)
If you requested your blank ballot be sent by email, be sure to check your “spam” folder and any secondary inboxes. You’d be surprised how many ballots are found hiding in there.
If your ballot isn’t in your email folders, contact your Local Election Official right away to find out what happened to it. It’s possible it was lost or that they don’t have you on their voter rolls as an overseas voter. You can look up the contact information here
Finally, if you’re concerned you may not receive your blank ballot in time to return it by the deadline for voted ballots, you can vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)–also known as the “back-up ballot.” For detailed instructions how to use a FWAB, please go here: www.votefromabroad.org/fwab
The FWAB is a ballot–please be sure to follow the instructions carefully! And be aware of the deadline to submit your ballot. The deadline information for your state will be in the Instructions that print out with your completed FWAB. Please be sure to allow enough time for your FWAB to get back to the US!