Your vote counts! Did you know that many recent U.S. elections have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by military and overseas voters? 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.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in upcoming U.S. elections:
Registering to Vote: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF 324 KB). Even if you have voted by absentee ballot in the past, you must complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF 324 KB) to vote in this year’s elections. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories. It allows you to register to vote and to request absentee ballots for all regular, primary, run-off, and special elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) during the course of the year it is submitted in.
You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. It will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature.
Receiving Your Ballot: Request Electronic Delivery! States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office (President, U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives) and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. 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 on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. You can now also confirm your registration and ballot delivery online for most states.
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 via numerous websites such as Project Smart Voter. 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 and Twitter.
Returning Your Completed Ballot: Other Options. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at U.S. Embassy Harare’s Flame Lily entrance at any time. Please bring proof of citizenship with your ballot. If you are sending your ballot to the embassy with a driver or messenger, they should bring proof of your U.S. citizenship and a note authorizing them to submit your ballot. They must be in either postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and must also be addressed to the relevant local election officials.
International mail from Zimbabwe to the United States can take up to 6 months. We recommend you drop off your FPCA or completed ballot in person at the embassy/consulate, and we will mail it to the United States for you free of charge via our Diplomatic Pouch. Contact the Consular Section for instructions and hours of operation. Mail sent through our diplomatic pouch generally takes 2 weeks to get to Washington, D.C., and another week to reach most U.S. counties. For the pouch, use a printable postage-paid voting return envelope, or affix normal domestic U.S. postage.
You cannot register to vote or vote at the Embassy or Consulates. However, this site will guide you on how to download, fill in and send the form to the appropriate address in your state.
We strongly encourage you to register to vote and/or request absentee ballots well in advance of elections 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.
More information and answers to frequently asked questions are available online at http://www.fvap.gov/.