Message for U.S. Citizens: Voting in U.S. Elections

VOTING IN 2020 U.S. ELECTIONS

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 2020 U.S. elections:

1.Request Your Ballot: Complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA-pdf) at FVAP.gov (you may also use the online assistant in paragraph 1a). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2020 to ensure you receive a ballot for every federal election for which you are eligible throughout the 2020 election cycle.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. All FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.

1a. You can use FVAP’s easy online assistant to walk you through the FPCA. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state) as this is the fastest way for you to get your ballot.  Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option.  Return the FPCA to your election office per the instructions on the website.  FVAP.gov will tell you if your state accepts the FPCA by email, mail, or fax.  If you must mail your FPCA, please see below for mailing options.

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: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 a courier service such as FedEx or DHL, or
  • U.S. Mail: You may also drop off completed voting materials at the U.S. Embassy in Paris (using the pre-paid envelope*) weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm (please bring your U.S. passport for this service) . *Place your voting materials in the postage paid return envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage) and address it to your U.S. board of elections. (Normal pouch transit times from post back to the United States are 2 to 3 weeks.)
  • French Postal Services: You may also use international mail by placing your ballot in a properly addressed envelope, bearing sufficient French postage, and mail it from any French post office. General transit time: one week.

Important Note: Embassies and consulates are not polling places. Same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States.

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 on-line.  You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the internet to locate articles and information.  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.

Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov

Questions: If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Paris Voting Assistance Officer at (01 43 12 27 21), or at VoteParis@state.gov:

Strasbourg at: USAStrasbourg@state.gov 

Marseille at: VoteMarseille@state.gov

Remember, your vote counts!

More information is available here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/voting.html