VOTING BY ABSENTEE BALLOT IN THE 2020 U.S. ELECTIONS
U.S. Embassy, Paris – August 21, 2020
For information on casting ballots and making your vote count, go to the website of The Federal Voting Assistance Program!
In some states voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2020 are as early as October 5th.
This year, the U.S. Elections will take place on Tuesday, November 3rd. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA-pdf) each year to ensure you are able to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.
If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon if you have not already received it. If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request you should contact your local election officials in the United States or check the status of your registration via your state’s voter registration verification website.
You can get voting assistance from the Embassy in Paris or Consulates General in Marseille and Strasbourg. You can also drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, at those locations. See dates and schedule below.***
1. Receive Your Ballot
After submitting your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA-pdf), most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (this year, by September 19) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.
2. Return Your Ballot
Although some states allow you to return your completed ballot by email or fax; If you must return a paper ballot by mail, we recommend that you do so as soon as possible for your vote to be counted. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials:
You may submit your Absentee Ballot or Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials as follows:
- French Postal Services: You may use international mail by placing your signed, dated ballot in a properly addressed envelope, bearing sufficient French postage, and mail it from any French post office. General transit time: one week. This is the fastest way to send voting materials to make sure you vote is counted.
- You can use a courier service such as FedEx or DHL.
- ***You may bring your ballot to the Embassy in Paris until October 13 to account for transit times between overseas posts and local voting districts.
Important Note: For this service, you must download the postage paid envelope (see all materials and forms), address it to your state county board of elections and drop it off at the:
- If it’s more convenient for you, you can have a friend or family member drop off your voting materials on your behalf.
If You Don’t Receive Your Official Ballot
If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the online assistant to complete the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), or download and print the FWAB here. It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, also fill it out and send it in. Only one will be counted. After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.
If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy — just follow these steps:
1. Complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA-pdf)
Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, you should you complete an Federal Post Card Application (FPCA-pdf) to receive your ballot. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November 3rd general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.
The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. No matter which state you vote in, 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). Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.
Questions: If you have any questions about casting your ballot or registering to vote by absentee ballot, please contact the:
- U.S. Embassy Paris Voting Assistance Officer at VoteParis@state.gov . Your email will be answered within 24 hours.
- You may also call the Embassy voting information phone line weekdays from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm. Please dial 01.43.12.27.21; if your call is not answered immediately, please leave your name and telephone number. We will call you back as soon as possible.
Important Note: Embassies and consulates are not polling places. Same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States.
Please do not send any voting materials to the Embassy by mail. They will be opened, thus disqualified, and returned to you.
Your Vote Counts
Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. 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 (differs by state). Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online and search the Internet to locate articles and information.
HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING
Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot. Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.
To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (email@example.com). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.