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 valid absentee ballot that reaches election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world!
Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more. Once you confirm your registration, click on the “Voting Steps” button above to follow a few steps to make your vote count in the elections.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please reach out via VoteHanoi@state.gov in the Northern part of Vietnam and VoteHoChiMinhCity@state.gov in the Southern part of Vietnam.
Remember, your vote counts!
Frequently Asked Questions for Absentee Voters
Q: What is my U.S. voting address?
A: Your U.S. voting residence address is used to determine where you are eligible to vote. For military voters, it is usually the last address you lived at in your state of legal residence, and is typically the same address listed on your Leave and Earnings Statement. For overseas citizens, it is usually the last place you lived in the U.S. before moving overseas. You do not need to have any current ties with this address.
Q: How can I send my Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)?
A: UOCAVA voters may have the option to submit their voting materials by mail, fax, or email. They can check their state’s specific voting guidelines by selecting their state.
Q: Should I plan to vote at the embassy or consulate?
A: No. Elections are run at the state and local level. You must communicate directly with your state to register, request a ballot, and vote. Most embassies and consulates will help you to fill out the FPCA and FWAB, but they are not polling places.
Q: When will I get my ballot?
A: Election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election. If you requested your ballot by email, then the ballot should arrive right away. Mailed ballots will take longer to arrive depending on the postal system in the country where you are located.
STEP 1 – Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). 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.
You can use FVAP’s easy online assistant to walk you through the FPCA at FVAP.gov. 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.
STEP 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.
STEP 3 – Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, then you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address them to the relevant local election officials.
Note: You can turn in your ballots at both the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate in Vietnam, or if more convenient, you can return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense. It can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent by an embassy or consulate via diplomatic pouch. Please note that all visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening and you will not be permitted to bring electronic devices, including cell phones, inside the facility.
Voters are encouraged to walk-in to drop off ballots or ask voting questions every Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. or between 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. at one of the following locations:
- Consular Section – U.S. Embassy, 2nd floor, Rose Garden Annex, 170 Ngoc Khanh Street, Hanoi
- ACS Unit – U.S. Consulate, 4 Le Duan Blvd., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
If you cannot physically return your completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) or signed ballot to the United States via the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you can mail your ballot to our American Citizen Services (ACS) Units. In order to mail your election-related materials to our ACS Units, you will need two envelopes. Address the first envelope to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate using the “Contact Us” Information on the side-bar of this page. Address the second envelope to your local state election office and enclose your FPCA or ballot inside. The second envelope needs to be postage-paid or have sufficient U.S. postage to be delivered to your local election office. (You may either use your own stamps or print your own postage paid envelope here.) Seal the second envelope, place it inside the first envelope, and mail the package to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It can take up to four weeks for election-related materials to reach their final destination in the United States.