Voting

Overseas citizens are eligible to participate in primary, run-off, and special elections that occur throughout the year, as well as the general elections in November.

We strongly encourage you to register to vote and/or request absentee ballots as early in the year as possible to ensure that you will receive all ballots for which you are eligible.   Should questions or problems occur, you would still be able to address them in time to vote in the general elections.

The official US Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance is the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at http://www.fvap.gov.

Be an educated voter. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues is widely available and easy to obtain via the Internet.  Use the links appearing on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, or choose any one of several search engines to locate articles and information.

The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Copenhagen, Denmark, is available to answer questions about absentee voting.  To contact the Voting Assistance Officer, send an e-mail to CopenhagenACS@state.gov. Look for notices from the Embassy/Consulate throughout the year relating to upcoming elections.

Again, we strongly encourage you to begin this process as soon as possible.

U.S. citizens do not vote at U.S. embassies and consulates. The electoral process is administered by the different U.S. states and you vote by mailing an absentee ballot to the state, or territory, where you last resided immediately prior to departing the United States. This applies even if many years have elapsed since your departure from the U.S. and you do not maintain a residence in the state or territory, and the intent to return to that state or territory is uncertain. Also, an address that you may have maintained in the U.S. for other purposes does not qualify as the state in which you should register to vote in (unless you actually resided at that address.) You must always register to vote in the state or territory where you last resided.

For members of the Uniformed Services and their family members, in most states the legal voting residence is defined as where they have, or have had, physical presence at the location and, simultaneously, the intent to remain or return.

State laws regarding residence and who can register to vote differ. Acceptance or denial of voter registration is up to each state. Depending on your state, you may be registered permanently or temporarily, or allowed to waive registration to apply for an absentee ballot. For more detailed information, please see state specific information from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.

If you make a timely application for an absentee ballot for a general federal election but do not receive the ballot from your state in time, you may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). This emergency Write-in Ballot is available on-line. You must register to vote using the FPCA and request an absentee ballot by your state’s deadline – usually 30 days before the election – to be eligible to use the FWAB. Please note that the FWAB is only valid for use in federal, not state or local, office.

To apply for voter registration and to request an absentee ballot, American citizens abroad send a form called The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to the state where they last resided immediately prior to departing the U.S. The Federal Post Card Application may be obtained from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website. Please be aware of your state’s registration deadline as the deadlines for the different states may vary extensively!

Some states accept the FPCA in faxed format, or by electronic submission, but they may also require you to send the hard copy by mail. Please consult the state specific instructions on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website to find out if your state allows these practices.

Your local voting officials should mail your absentee ballot 30 to 45 days before the general election. Return your voted ballot as early as possible. Be aware of your state’s ballot receipt deadline, as well as any postmarking requirements.

If you are unsure of which county you last resided in, please use the County Finder for assistance (also available on the FVAP webiste).

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) allows citizens outside the United States to vote in the state, or territory, where they last resided immediately prior to departing the United States. This applies even if many years have elapsed since their departure from the U.S. and the voter remains no residence in the state or territory, and the intent to return to that state or territory is uncertain. Also, an address that a voter may have maintained in the U.S. for other purposes does not qualify as the state in which the voter should register to vote in (unless the voter actually resided at that address.) A voter must always register to vote in the state or territory where he/she last resided.

For members of the Uniformed Services and their family members, in most states the legal voting residence is defined as where they have, or have had, physical presence at the location and, simultaneously, the intent to remain or return.

State laws regarding residence and who can register to vote differ. Acceptance or denial of voter registration is up to each state. Depending on your state, you may be registered permanently or temporarily, or allowed to waive registration to apply for an absentee ballot. For more detailed information, please see state specific information from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.

There are certain states in the United States that allow U.S. citizens overseas to vote even if they have never resided in the U.S. If a citizen has never resided in the U.S. but has a parent who is eligible to vote in one these sixteen states, a citizen is eligible to vote at the same voting residence claimed by their parent (certain special provisions may apply, please see the state specific information for more details.)

If you are not from one of the states allowing such a practice, do not give up. It may be that you have a bank account, property, or membership in an organization in one of the states that does allow registration and absentee voting by such persons. Perhaps you visited one of the states allowing such registration and earned income there or obtained a driver’s license there, or developed some other tie to that state. You should provide as much pertinent information as possible as an attachment to the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) when you send it in. The final decision will be up to the local election official.