How to vote while studying abroad: request a ballot, vote and return it

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Just three simple steps.

Whether you’re going abroad for a semester or spending a year working in another country, you’ll never be too far away to vote. U.S. citizens and dual citizens who are 18 years old or older by election Day have the right to vote from abroad, and we are here to help you exercise that right.

On November 8, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 34 seats in the U.S. Senate, control of the legislative assemblies of 46 states and 36 gubernatorial posts will be played. Voting in the midterm elections is the best chance you’ll have in two years to have your voice heard on a variety of important issues, including climate change, physical autonomy, and student loan policy.

We created this guide to tell you how to vote — and make a difference — from abroad in just three simple steps.

Step 1. Request your newsletter

Go to the website www.votefromabroad.org , where you can register to vote and request an absentee ballot abroad. There you will fill out and submit an application for a Federal Postal Card (FPCA) — a form that voters from other countries use, as you use to request ballots. The website will help you fill out the FPCA and tell you exactly where to send it.

If you are not registered to vote or you need to change your place of registration, don’t worry: The FPCA also serves as a voter registration form. You will register at the address where you last resided in the United States.

Step 2: Get and vote for your ballot

After receiving the newsletter, read the instructions carefully and fill it out as soon as possible. You will probably want to vote for all the offices listed on the ballot, especially at the state and local level, where many decisions are made that affect our future. Searching for candidates on Google is a great way to find out what position they take on issues that are important to you, as well as reading the news about the races in which you will vote.

Advice for professionals: Make sure that you have subscribed wherever required, used the right color pen and put the right envelope in another one (if you return the ballot by mail). Each state, and sometimes even the county, has its own requirements. Human error is the main reason for rejecting absentee ballots abroad, so it’s worth spending extra time to read the instructions and do everything right.

Step 3. Return the completed ballot

After filling out the ballot, return it immediately. Some states allow foreign voters to return their ballots via secure electronic means such as a download portal, email, or even fax (yes, fax!), but many require the ballot to be mailed. You can check the rules and deadlines of your state on the website www.votefromabroad.org .

If you need to return your ballot by mail, make sure that you have entered the correct mailing address and the recipient’s address on the envelope (the latter will be included in your voting instructions). If time is short, you can also use a courier service such as DHL, UPS or FedEx, but it can be expensive.

A tip for professionals: Return your ballot within 48 hours of receiving it, especially if you need to return it by mail. Early voting will not only save you from stress and money, but also give you enough time to confirm that your ballot has passed and will be counted. Being late is another main reason for rejecting absentee ballots. Don’t let this happen to you.

And in the same way you will vote from abroad in the November midterm elections! Find the states guide on the website www.votefromabroad.org , in the frequently asked questions section and in the chat in case you have any questions or difficulties.

Votes from abroad may have proved decisive in the outcome of the 2020 elections — now, with your help, we are ready to achieve even greater results in 2022!

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