Updated January 2018
Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for house and senate seats have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? 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.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2018 U.S. elections:
- Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2018 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2018 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 www.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.
- 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.
- Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot by email or fax. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you have the following options:
- You can use international mail, a courier service such as FedEx or DHL;
- You may drop off completed voting materials to the mail reception booth at the U.S. Embassy in Lima (IMPORTANT NOTE: go to the “Employee Entrance” gate on Av. Derby, not the main gate on Av. Encalada). Come any day the Embassy is open, from 9:00 -11:00 a.m. There, you can drop off your sealed and postage-paid envelope without entering the Embassy compound;
- You may also come to the American Citizen Services unit in the Embassy in Lima between the hours of 1:30 and 3:00 p.m., on Wednesdays. You do not need an appointment to submit voting materials. However, you will need to clear security at the main gate on Av. Encalada in order to enter the Embassy compound. Before arriving, you must read the Embassy’s access and prohibited items policy. Place your materials in a postage paid return envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials; or
- You may also come to the American Citizen Services unit in the Consular Agency in Cusco between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., on Tuesdays. Place your materials in a postage paid return envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials.
- New this year – email to fax service by FVAP! – the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will provide an email-to-fax conversion service for voters who have difficulty sending election materials to States that do not accept emailed documents. Get more information here.
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 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 and Twitter.
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 Lima’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteLima@state.gov.
Remember, your vote counts!
Be absent but accounted for!