If you plan to vote in the November 2020 election it is important to ACT NOW! Don’t wait, return your voted ballot right away! Remember U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States – but you can get assistance in requesting and returning your absentee ballot. Many states require ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 3.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Department of State’s page on Absentee Voting Information are the most up-to-date voting information resources for Americans living abroad. Please visit these websites to learn about deadlines and procedures for registering and voting.
Overseas U.S. citizens usually need to register every year, which means mailing in your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) so that you’re eligible to receive an absentee ballot. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recommends submitting FPCAs in January for November elections. To get started, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website.
The U.S. Embassy can assist you by:
- Sharing information on how to vote from the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)
- Mailing voting materials to the U.S. To allow processing time between Department of State and U.S. Postal Service systems, ballots must be received in the Embassy no later than October 6, 2020. Ballots received after that date will be forwarded but may arrive too late to be counted.
- Providing you with Federal Post Card Applications (FPCA) and Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots (FWAB) if needed
How do I vote absentee?
First you will need to submit a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials in order to register and request your ballot. You can complete the FPCA at FVAP.org or pick up a blank one from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
After you receive the ballot, complete and return it before your state’s deadline. If you have not received your blank ballot 30 days before an election, use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote.
Deadlines, voting guidelines and submission options (mail, email or fax) vary by state. Find info for your state here.
Where can I get Federal Post Card Applications (FPCA) and Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots (FWAB)?
FVAP’s online assistant can help you prepare your FPCA. You can also pick up a blank FPCA or FWAB at the U.S. Embassy.
Can the Embassy mail my voting materials for me?
You can drop off absentee ballots or voter registration forms at the U.S. Embassy to be mailed back to the U.S. via diplomatic mail. Please make sure envelopes are properly addressed, sealed and have sufficient postage. For details on preparing election materials to be mailed, please refer to the FVAP’s page to download and print materials, including a *postage prepaid return envelope*: https://www.fvap.gov/eo/overview/materials/forms
To allow processing time between Department of State and U.S. Postal Service systems this means ballots must be received in the Embassy no later than October 6, 2020. Ballots received after that date will be forwarded but may arrive too late to be counted. Please also check the regulations in the state in which you vote as deadlines may differ, and you may have alternative voting options such as electronic voting or by fax. You may also consider returning your ballot to the United States via an express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL.
How do I contact the Embassy with questions about voting?
Call our office at 020-363-6451; or send an e-mail to VoteNairobi@state.gov
You do not need to call ahead or make an appointment to pick up or drop off voting materials.