Celebrate democracy this 4th of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2016 U.S. elections!

In order to vote in the November 2016 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2016.  Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

You can always get voting assistance from the embassy/consulate or drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, during the following hours:

Paper ballots mailed via the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa will take approximately two weeks to arrive at your local election office.  Please allow at least two weeks to ensure your ballot arrives on time to be counted.  Envelopes can be delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday at the American Citizen Services counters accessed via the Sussex Street entrance.

If you have never voted while overseas before, the process is easy just follow these steps:

  1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).   You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2016 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2016 elections.  The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.

 

You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov.  The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state.   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).  Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option.  Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website.  FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature.  If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.

  1. Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections.  For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.
  1. Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address them to the relevant local election officials.

Researching the Candidates and Issues:  Online Resources.  Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues.  Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line.  You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the internet to locate articles and information.  For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov).  FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.govIf you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Ottawa’s Voting Assistance Officer at+1 (613) 688-5300 or call toll free in Canada at +1 (800) 438-8683, or at VoteOttawa@state.gov.

Remember, your vote counts!
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov.   STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate.

Monitor the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution on State Department’s website.  Read the Country Specific Information for Canada.  For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist.”

Contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa is located at 490 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1G8, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  You can reach us at 1-613-688-5335 during business hours.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance outside of business hours, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is 1-613-238-5335.