An official website of the United States government

Message for U.S. Citizens: Absentee Voting Week is September 27-October 4
September 23, 2020

Did You Know? Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%

Be an Active Voter by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections and participating in Absentee Voting Week!

If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon, if you have not already received it. If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request, you should contact your local election officials to check the status of your registration.


Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Use this FVAP link to generate an “I Voted From Sweden” virtual sticker that you can share on social media.

1. Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete an FPCA to receive your ballot. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.

The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. No matter which state you vote in, 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). Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print, sign, and return to your local election official.

Please note that a good source of information, which can resolve many of your questions, can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section of FVAP.

2. Receive Your Ballot

After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (September 19) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA. If you requested your ballot but haven’t received it, contact your election office to ask about the status of your ballot request.

3. Return Your Ballot

Many states allow you to return your ballot by email or fax. You can check your ballot return methods by selecting your state from the map on the FVAP voting assistance guide page and scrolling down to “voting your ballot”. If your state allows your ballot to be returned by fax, but you do not have access to a fax machine, you can follow the instructions on the FVAP website to send your ballot via the DoD Fax Service.

If your state requires you to send your ballot by mail, you may return it by Post Nord using sufficient local postage, by courier service such as UPS or FedEx, or by dropping it off at the U.S. Embassy to be returned via diplomatic pouch mail.

If you choose to return you ballot via the U.S. Embassy, please be advised that it can take as long as four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent by diplomatic pouch.  All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots as soon as possible after you receive them from your state election official.

If you choose to return your ballot via the Embassy, you may drop off your ballots at the Embassy Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. You must place your ballot in either a postage-paid envelope or envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. You can download the postage paid envelope from the FVAP.gov website.

If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot too. Officials will only count one.

4. Check the Status of Your Returned Ballot

You can contact your local election officials to confirm that your ballot was received and counted.


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 (differs by state).

 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. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).

To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.

 For Assistance: For any questions regarding voting, you are welcome to contact us at stkACSinfo@state.gov