Look Out for Your Absentee Ballots

If you have already completed your Federal Post Card Application and registered to vote in the November 2020 elections be on the look out for your 2020 general election absentee ballot!  States are required to send out their absentee ballots 45 days prior to the election, which is September 19th this year.

If you requested email transmission you should expect to receive your absentee ballot by email on September 19th.  If you are receiving your ballot by regular mail, please allow for additional delivery time of your absentee ballot.  Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.  We recommend that you plan to return your ballot as soon as possible to account for transit times between overseas posts and local voting districts.  After you send in your ballot, you can also  check if it was received by your election office.

If you would like to drop off your completed absentee ballot for delivery to the United States via diplomatic pouch free of charge you can do so at the U.S. Embassy in London.  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.

You can drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, at the Consular entrance of the Embassy during the following hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For after-hours and weekend service, you may drop off your ballots at the Service Entrance (West Pavilion) of the Embassy, located across the street from District Coffee.  You can also mail your ballots to the Embassy at:

Embassy of the United States
American Citizen Services
33 Nine Elms Lane
London
SW11 7US

U.S. citizens living in the UK may also submit their forms and ballots using the UK’s Royal Mail 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.

Remember, You Must REGISTER FIRST.

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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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, 2 pages). 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.
  3.  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.
  4. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot:  Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically or by fax.  Check FVAP.gov for your state’s requirements.  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.  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.

If you plan to use the diplomatic pouch, drop off your ballots to the American Citizens Services section by going to the Consular entrance of the Embassy between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  For after-hours and weekend service, you may drop off your ballots at the Service Entrance (West Pavilion) of the Embassy, located across the street from District Coffee.  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.

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