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 U.S. elections:
- Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1 every year or any time you move to be sure that you are receiving ballots for the elections you are eligible to vote. 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 can use international mail, a courier service such as FedEx or DHL, or you may drop off completed voting materials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm on weekdays between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm. For the fastest service, use the Swedish Postal System; it can take six weeks or more for mail to reach its destination if sent by an embassy or consulate via diplomatic pouch.
If returning a ballot to the U.S. Embassy, please be sure to place your voting materials in a postage-paid return envelope (available on the FVAP website) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials. Once we receive it, we’ll mail your ballot to the U.S. Again, please be sure that your envelope has the proper domestic U.S. postage.
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 Stockholm’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteStockholm@state.gov