Voting

HOW TO VOTE BY ABSENTEE BALLOT IN THE 2020 U.S.  ELECTIONS

 

The first place Overseas Voters go for information on casting their ballots and making their vote count: The Federal Voting Assistance Program

This year, the U.S. Elections will take place on Tuesday, November 3rd. Make sure you are registered to vote and have requested your ballots well in advance of your state’s voter registration and ballot request deadlines. For some states, the deadline is as early as October 1st.

Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you use the online assistant to 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 2020 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 in Ottawa or Consulates General in Halifax, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.  You can also drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, at those locations.

If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy — just follow these steps:

  1. Register to Vote as an Overseas Voter and Request Your Absentee Ballot

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, you should 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.

  1. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Some states allow you to return your completed FPCA by email or fax.

If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials:

  1. 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 for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA. Please note that it will take some time from when they mail the ballot for you to receive it in Canada via international mail.

  1. Complete, Sign, Date, and Return Your Ballot

We recommend that if you plan to return your paper ballot to your election officials by dropping it off at the Embassy or one of the Consulates, please deliver your ballot to the Embassy or Consulate by October 13th to account for transit times between overseas posts and local voting districts.  You may also return your ballot using the means described in entry 2 above: Canada Post or private commercial courier service.

If You Don’t Receive Your Official Ballot

If you submitted the FPCA and haven’t received your ballot by October 13th then we recommend that you use the online assistant to complete the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), or download and print the FWAB here. 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, also fill it out and send it in. Only one will be counted. After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.

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.

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.

To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.

Questions: If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the Voting Assistance Officer at the Embassy or Consulate General closest to you.

Calgary: VoteCalgary@state.gov

Halifax: VoteHalifax@state.gov

Montreal: VoteMontreal@state.gov

Ottawa: VoteOttawa@state.gov

Quebec City: VoteQuebec@state.gov

Toronto: VoteToronto@state.gov

Vancouver: VoteVancouver@state.gov