In order to vote in the November 2020 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020. 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.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program highly recommends that overseas citizen voters complete the FPCA and register by August 1st. This soft deadline allows for ample time for FPCAs to reach election offices by all state’s registration deadlines.
If you would like to drop off your completed Federal Post Card Application at U.S. Embassy London for free delivery to the United States via diplomatic pouch your application must be in a pre-paid U.S. postage envelope. For convenience, the second page of the FPCA has pre-paid postage that can be cut and pasted to an envelope to satisfy this requirement.
You can drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, during the following hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Ballots can be dropped into a ballot mailbox located at the Consular entrance or the Main entrance of the Embassy. You can also mail your ballots to the Embassy at:
Embassy of the United States
American Citizen Services
33 Nine Elms Lane
If mailing your FPCA or ballot to the Embassy, you must place it in a pre-paid U.S. postage envelope (inside of the Royal Mail envelope addressed to the Embassy).
Normal transit time from London to the United States, from receipt at the Embassy to entry into United States Postal Service circulation, is 10-14 days. U.S. citizens living in the UK may also submit their forms and ballots through the UK’s Royal Mail system.
Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world! Follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:
- Register to vote: Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually, so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.
- Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) – (PDF document). 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. FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA. Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
- 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. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
- Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically. 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 London’s diplomatic pouch. You may also use the British Postal System: Place British postage on your completed, signed, dated, FPCA or voted ballot, and mail it directly to the local election officials in the state where you vote. Make sure USA is indicated at the end of the address of your U.S. board of elections. Then, mail it from any Royal Mail post office.
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 by going to the Consular or Main entrance of the Embassy between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. 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. All visitors are also required to wear a facemask. It can take up to two to three 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.
Researching the Candidates and Issues
Online Resources. Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to 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 online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy London’s Voting Assistance Officer at 020-7891-3640, or at SCSLondon@state.gov