Americans Helping Americans Abroad

US Voting for Dummies: Quarantined Overseas Edition

Did you know you can vote in the 2020 US elections from the comfort of your forced confinement?

It's simple. All you need is a computer or other device connected to the internet and a printer, or a trusted friend with a both.

The voting process consists of filling in a Federal Postcard Application Card (FPCA) which you sign and transmit to the county election board of your last residence. At least 24 days before the election date, you will receive your ballot. Complete the ballot and transmit it back to the county election board.

The following websites will help you complete the FPCA:

The Voting Assistance Guide is a reference guide for everything you need to know about absentee voting in all 55 States, territories and the District of Columbia.is available at www.fvap.gov/guide

Voter Registration

Every state, except North Dakota, requires you register to vote before a deadline date. Many states considers those who previously voted to be currently registered. However, we suggest that you re-register every election year to be sure your vote is counted. To be sure, go to https://www.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/svid.htm

If you are not registered to vote, go to one of the sites listed above. Click on your voting state. The first screen will give you the deadline for registration, requesting a ballot and returning the ballot. Be careful: the ballot request and return must be received by the state's indicated deadline date.

If you have never lived in the United States, you must complete a Federal Post Card Application with the last address, county and state of voting of your parent(s). Check the box on the FPCA that you have never lived in the United States. If your parent(s) vote in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Pennsylvania,Texas, or Utah, you will be denied the right to vote. Please contact the county boards of elections of these states in order to obtain more information.

Ballot Request

The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) must be used by overseas civilians and military to register and/or request a ballot to vote. A blank copy to can be printed at www.fvap.gov and completed by hand. Or, it can be completed on-line at one of the sites listed above.

For the FPCA to be accepted, it must include your last US street address or a description of the location of your last US residence as well as the county, zip-code and state. Also, tax and bank records, old phone numbers, social media, emails, friends, photos, yearbooks can help. The following website offers amazing tools:

The FPCA requires personal identification. You can use the last four digits of your US Social Security number in all states except New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia which require the full Social Security number. If you are reluctant to provide the full number, use your US Passport number.

Complete, print, sign and date the FPCA. You may send the form to your county election board according to your state’s regulations either by mail, fax or email scan. (Check information provided in your state’s guidelines: https://www.fvap.gov/guide). If you send it be fax or scan, complete and include a Transmission Cover Sheet also provided in the Voter Assistance Guide (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). International mail service is currently limited.

Call your election board to verify receipt. The Overseas Vote Foundation Election Official Directory provides you with the name, telephone number, fax number and email address of your the local election official. They are there also to answer your questions.

Covid-19 update: Postal services may be disturbed, either in getting to a post office or upon delivery. If your state does not specify email or fax delivery, call the election board to request an exception. If your local election board is closed, contact the state office. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you need that number.

Once you have taken the time to send-in your Federal Post Card Application take a patriotic lap around the living room and hope that when you ultimately receive and send back your ballot, life will have returned to normal.

John C. Fredenberger, Ad hoc Voting Committee Chairman

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