Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for House and Senate 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 2016 U.S. elections:
1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). 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. All U.S. citizens overseas who wish to vote must submit a new FPCA in each calendar year (January – December) they wish to vote unless their state specifically does not required it.
You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. If you prefer to fill out a hard copy of the FPCA, please stop by the Consular section on business days from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 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.
Confirming your registration: Thirty eight states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico now have websites voters can visit to confirm their registration. Valid registration does not necessarily confirm that the state has received a valid absentee ballot request for that voter.
2. 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.
3. Return Your Completed Ballot: If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest embassy. Drop off your voter registration or ballot at the main gate of the Embassy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Postage paid envelopes are available for your use at this drop box, if you are unable to print the postage paid envelopes from the FVAP.gov website. You do not need to come into the Embassy or make an appointment to drop off the forms.
Please note that the registration and ballot receipt deadlines differ by state. You can check your state’s deadlines on the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website FVAP.gov. It takes approximately two weeks for registration forms and ballots sent through the Embassy to reach the United States. If your state requires your ballot to be received on election day (November 8), please drop off your ballot at the Embassy no later than October 18, 2016. You can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
If you have questions about filling out your FPCA or any other voting questions, you are welcome to make an appointment for American Citizen Services hours (Monday through Friday between 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) to come speak to a Consular Officer in person. Appointments can be made through the Embassy website. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Embassy Rangoon’s Voting Assistance Officer at (+95-1) 536 509 or at VoteRangoon@state.gov.