Voters, Time is Getting Short!

Voting stickers on a table. Photo by: U.S. Department of State (IIP Bureau)

Voters, Time is Getting Short!

U.S. Embassy, Paris 

October 16, 2020 

Attention voters! Time is getting short. The recommended mailing deadline for overseas ballots has now passed. If you have not yet returned your ballot, please read this message carefully. While each state’s deadline to receive mailed ballots is different, for many states your ballot may not reach your local election office in the United States in time if you send it via the Embassy diplomatic pouch or the French postal system. After checking your state’s ballot receipt deadline at https://www.fvap.gov/guide, you should be considering alternative methods to return your ballot to the United States.

If your state allows you to return your ballot electronically, this is your best option to ensure your ballot arrives in time. If your state requires you to fax the ballot, and you do not have a fax machine, the Embassy or the Federal Voting Assistance Program can assist with faxing. If you can scan the completed ballot and all required forms – including the fax transmission sheet addressed to your local elections office — into an email, you can send the email to fax@fvap.gov.

Alternatively, you can bring the ballot and all the required forms – including the completed fax transmission sheet – to the American Citizens Services Unit at the Consular Section of the Embassy and we can fax it for you weekdays from 9am to 4pm. Please bring your US passport and a mask.

If you need to scan in your ballot, but don’t have a scanner, be aware some phones (including iPhones by using the Notes app) can be used as a scanner.

If you must send back the physical ballot, you should consider alternative delivery services, such as:

  • The French postal service. Be sure to affix the appropriate international postage and write USA or Etats-Unis on your board of election’s address. La Poste estimates your ballot should arrive at its destination within 8 to 16 days,

OR

  • Private courier such as UPS, Federal Express, DHL or French Chronopost. Federal Express is offering a promotional rate for voters overseas, OR
  • Someone traveling to the United States who can drop the ballot in the mail for you once they arrive. The Embassy cannot help with this option.
  • The Embassy will continue to receive ballots, and postmark them the day received, but at this point those ballots may not arrive before your state’s ballot receipt deadline. Ballots must be placed in a US postage paid envelope and addressed to the appropriate U.S. election office.

If you have not yet received your ballot, but have requested one, you should prepare a
Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB).  This can also be found on the https://www.fvap.gov/ website, on the home page where it says “Fill out the FWAB.” Fill out and return this ballot now; if your state ballot arrives later, you should fill it out and return that as well. Your local elections official will only count one of the ballots. Check the transmission guidelines for your state (PDF).

Ballot/FWAB envelope templates: you may print this template on a regular sheet of paper, tape it to an envelope and send your voted ballot.  You do not need to print directly onto an envelope.

If you need to find the names of candidates running for office, go to http://whosontheballot.org/.

If you have not yet requested a ballot from your state, please immediately go to https://www.fvap.gov/guide to check the registration deadline for your state. The deadlines in some states have already passed.

You then should immediately prepare your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the form that registers you and requests the ballot. If given the option, you should request the ballot be sent to you by email/online or fax; ballots mailed to you may not arrive in enough time to be voted.