Voter Registration: Deadlines, Alerts and Important Info for the Overseas Citizen
The overseas electoral system in the US is at best confusing, and frequently impossible to sort out. Federal elections are run by the states, and they do not have uniform rules amongst the states and too frequently even within a state. Local election official frequently have great discretion. The following attempts to provide some clarity on issues relevant to voters in the next month.
* Earliest Deadlines: No state has a registration deadline before October 6.
* Meeting the Deadline by Fax: Most states allow the deadline to be met by faxing the original signed FPCA as long as the original hardcopy is mailed and received before the ballots are counted.
Exceptions: New York, Alabama, and Wyoming do not accept faxes. Alabama has a registration deadline of October 24. New York has a registration deadline of October 10. Wyoming has a registration deadline of October 6. The only way to meet the deadlines for NY, AL, and WY is to ensure that your original FPCA arrives in the local election official’s office by mail no later than the deadline. (New York and Wyoming will also accept them by courier services).
* Later Deadlines: Some states have a later deadline registration deadline. Check them here: Registration Dates
Ballot Request Deadlines: How to request a ballot if you are already registered
* The same FPCA form is also used to request a ballot. No state has a ballot request deadline before October 6.
* Some states have a later deadline for people who have previously registered as overseas voters.
* Most states allow the deadline to be met by faxing the original signed FPCA as long as the original hardcopy is mailed and received before the ballots are counted.
Exceptions: New York, Alabama, and Wyoming do not accept faxes. Alabama has a ballot request deadline of October 30. New York has a ballot request deadline of October 24. Wyoming has a ballot request deadline of November 3. The only way to meet the deadlines for NY, AL, and WY is to ensure that your original FPCA arrives in the local election official’s office by mail no later than deadline. (New York and Wyoming will also accept them by courier services).
* Some states have a later registration deadline. Check here:
Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)
* Use this back-up ballot if your state ballot does not arrive in time to return it using your local mail system.
* If you have not yet sent in your FPCA, you should:
Fax your FPCA (unless you vote in AL, NY, or WY); and mail the original along with the FWAB. The FWAB must go in a blank envelope that is referred to as a security envelope. The security envelope, the voter declaration and the FPCA should all be mailed together from outside the United States. (If you are in the Uniformed Services or the Merchant Marines you can mail it from within the U.S.).
* If you have already registered and requested your ballot, only mail the security envelope with the voted ballot inside and the voter declaration.
* Foreign Postmark: All states will accept a foreign postmark as evidence of submission form outside the U.S.
* Consular Stamp: All states have been informed by the U.S. State Department that they should accept a consular stamp as evidence of submission from outside the U.S.
* Commercial Courier: Some states will also accept a commercial courier service waybill as evidence of submission from outside the U.S.
Using a courier service should be a last resort. Alabama explicitly refuses to accept materials sent to them by commercial couriers, such as Federal Express and DHL.
U.S. Citizens who never lived in the U.S.
* Federal law does not require any state to extend voting eligibility to a person who has never resided in that state on the basis that one or both of the person’s parents formerly resided in that state. Many states, however, do.
* Disenfranchised: Children born abroad to voters otherwise eligible to vote in Alaska, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are disenfranchised by state law.
* Enfranchised: Children born abroad to voters eligible to vote in Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are specifically enfranchised by state law, i.e. they are allowed to register and vote.
* All other states are silent on the issue. Voters in this situation should send in an FPCA; if it is rejected, they should notify firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denver, Colorado Voters
* The Denver election office moved in June, and FPCAs were not forwarded to the new address. Please ensure that your form was received.
* You can check your status on-line here
* You can also contact them by calling +1 720-913-8683 or emailing email@example.com.
* If your form was not received, you should fill out another one today and fax it to: +1 720 913-8600.
* All forms should also be mailed to:
Denver Elections Division
3888 E. Mexico Avenue
Denver, CO 80210 USA.
Visiting the U.S.
* If you live abroad, but are currently in the U.S., you can call your local election official to find out if there are any additional voting options available.
* If you are still abroad, but plan to be visiting the US on Election Day, you should mail your Federal Write-In Ballot BEFORE you enter the U.S.
* If the toll free fax number
* The FVAP know that several of these numbers, including the one from China, are not working, and they are investigating.
MYTH: “If I vote, the IRS will hassle me.”
Voting in US Federal elections does not affect the determination of tax liability or tax residence. You will not hear from the IRS because you voted in a Federal election, i.e. President, Senate, or House of Representatives. (Note: Voting in state and local elections can potentially affect state and local tax status. We recommend that you seek expert advice before voting in state or local elections.) For more info, click here