Voting

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the possibility of postal delays, we recommend that you return your ballot electronically, if possible. If you get a postal ballot, the quickest way to mail it is to use the UK postal system.

For information about voting overseas, watch this video and refer to the FAQs below.

Registering to vote in U.S. federal elections is fast, easy, and possible from anywhere in the world. All U.S. citizens can now receive a ballot electronically so it has never been simpler to become an overseas voter!

You can find out about the candidates and issues by visiting your state’s election webpages.

For updates on the impact of COVID on voting and resources available to voters, please see www.fvap.gov/covid-19

Visit USA.gov to learn about the Presidential election process, including information about primaries, presidential caucuses, delegates, national conventions, and the Electoral College.

How to vote in three easy steps!

Go to FVAP.gov to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) which allows you register to vote and request your absentee ballot at the same time.

  • You will need access to a printer as you must print, sign and date the FPCA.
  • The quickest way to receive your ballot is to choose an electronic option. Depending on the state, this may be by email, fax or online download.
  • Include your email address so that election officials can contact you quickly if needed.
  • If your state delivers ballots electronically by fax only, make sure you include your fax number.

The FVAP website has information to help you determine your state of voting residence, including information for U.S. citizens that have never lived in the United States.

The FPCA will allow you to request absentee ballots for all federal elections in the calendar year, including any special elections. States no longer have to send ballots for an entire election cycle, so we strongly recommend that you get into the habit of completing a new FPCA every January.

All U.S. citizens can now chose to receive a ballot electronically. Depending on which state you are eligible to vote in, you might get your ballot electronically by email, fax, or online download.

With electronic delivery selected, ballots are typically sent 45 days ahead of federal and midterm elections, and 30 days before primary, special and run-off elections for federal offices.

Most states allow you to confirm ballot delivery online.

If you haven’t received your ballot by early October, you can request a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You can use the FWAB to vote if you don’t think you will receive ballot in time. If you ballot does subsequently arrive, you can submit it too. Only one vote will be counted.

 

If you have received your ballot, follow the instructions to submit it as soon as you can. If your state allows you to cast your ballot electronically, we recommend that you do so ASAP.

  • If you cannot cast your ballot electronically, the fastest method is to mail your completed, signed and dated ballot directly to the local election officials in your state using the UK postal system. Your local post office will be able to advise you about the quickest postage option.
  • You can choose to use a private courier service, but this will cost more.
  • You can drop off your ballot at the U.S. Embassy in London or at the U.S. Consulate in Belfast or Edinburgh. This is a free service. However, it is important for you to understand that this will take longer. Mail sent using the diplomatic pouch must go to a U.S. sorting office before it can be sent on to the relevant election officials using the U.S. postal system. You would need to place your ballot in either a postage paid envelope or an envelope addressed to your state’s election officials with U.S. stamps sufficient for delivery once your ballot arrives in the United States. The estimated time from dropping off the ballot to it entering the U.S. postal system is seven to ten days.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the possibilities of postal delays, we recommend that you choose an electronic option if possible, or submit your ballot or FPCA using the UK postal system as quickly as possible.

All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as they are valid and reach local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline, which is after the election date in some states.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The FVAP website has useful information to help you decide which address and state to use when registering to vote absentee. This includes information about what to do if:

  • You don’t remember your last U.S. address.
  • You no longer have ties to the state you last lived in.
  • You’re not sure if you’re going to return to live in that state.
  • You are in the UK as a student.
  • You have never lived in the United States.

It may be possible for you to register to vote in the state in which you parent or legal guardian – or, in some cases, your spouse or civil union partner – current lives or lived when they last resided in the United States. Visit the FVAP website for state-by-state information and then contact the state’s election officer if you need more information.

If you haven’t received your ballot by early October, you can request a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You can use the FWAB to vote if you don’t think you will receive your ballot in time.

If your ballot does subsequently arrive, you can submit it too. Only one vote will be counted.

 

Can I register/re-register to vote now?

If you haven’t registered to vote, it may not be too late – deadlines vary state by state. You can check the Federal Election deadlines by clicking on your state of voting residence on the FVAP website.

Remember:

  • Some states require that voters re-register annually.
  • Congressional elections take place every two years.
  • Special elections may occur at any time.

Therefore, no matter the date, it’s a good idea to register to vote for the first time or check your registration now. Visit FVAP.gov to get started!

Can I submit my ballot now?

If you’ve received your ballot, follow the instructions to submit it as soon as you can.

If your state doesn’t allow you to cast your ballot electronically, the fastest method is to use the UK postal system. Your local post office will be able to advise you of the quickest postage option.

All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as they are valid and reach local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline, which is after the election date in some states.

U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places so do not expect to be able to go to the Embassy in London or the Consulates in Belfast or Edinburgh to cast you vote on November 3, 2020.

The fastest way to return a postal ballot is to mail the completed, signed and dated ballot directly to your state’s election officials using the UK postal system.

The U.S. Embassy in London and the Consulates in Belfast and Edinburgh have no plans for public parties or screenings of election news footage.

If you have questions after checking this webpage and FVAP.gov, you can contact: