How to vote in Elections from Abroad
Be an Absentee Voter, Not an Absentee Citizen – VOTE! FVAP.gov
Under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), the right to vote can be exercised by United States citizens in every corner of the world. Generally all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who are residing outside the United States during an election period are eligible to vote absentee in any election for Federal office (this includes Presidential elections and the elections of Senators and Representatives).
Voting eligibility and residency requirements are determined by the various U.S. states. Your legal state of residence for voting purposes is the state where you last resided immediately prior to departure from the United States. If you have never resided in the United States, you may request to register and vote in the last state that your parents or grandparents resided in before your birth. However, always check with your state's local board of elections since the state determines your eligibility to vote.
Voter Registration and Requesting an Absentee Ballot
We encourage U.S. citizens to visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website at http://www.fvap.gov/, the official U.S. government website for overseas voters. This website features an automated Voter Registration and Ballot Delivery tool that will assist with the vote-by-mail process.
The procedures and deadlines to vote absentee vary from state to state. However, the same document and the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)is accepted by all states and territories as an application for both registration and for an absentee ballot.
Visit www.fvap.gov and click "Get Started" to be directed to an online Federal Postcard Application and instructions for your state; or
The Federal Write-in Ballot (FWAB)serves as an emergency ballot for voters who registered in time but fail to receive an official ballot from local election officials. Please note: You must register to vote and request an absentee ballot by your state's deadline usually 30 days before the election to be eligible to use the FWAB.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program has a wealth of information about absentee voting including state-specific instructions for completing the voter registration card, links to state and local officials and a down-loadable emergency ballot. There is also an international toll-free number to call from The Netherlands 0800-022-8213.
The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Amsterdam is also always available to answer questions about absentee voting. To contact the Voting Assistance Officer, please see our U.S. Citizen Services contact information page, or send an e-mail to USCitizenServicesAms@state.gov.
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Absentee Voting Information
- More information on voting overseas is available in the 'Living Abroad Tips' on the State Department Travel website.