ABOUT US

The Center for U.S. Voters Abroad is a non-profit organization that helps U.S. citizens vote regardless of where they’re located in the world.

All we need is some basic information from you — just as you’d fill out on a standard voter registration form — and we’ll walk you through it, quick and easy.

OUR MISSION

The Center for U.S. Voters Abroad believes that every overseas vote counts, yours included. In fact, in two recent elections of U.S. Senators, enough overseas voters cast ballots to swing the outcome. If the overseas voter population was ranked as a state, it would be larger than 15 other states (smaller than Kansas, but larger than New Mexico!).

But, in 2020, the federal government estimates that fewer than 8% of overseas U.S. voters voted.

Our mission is to change that.

ABOUT VOTING FROM ABROAD

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. This Act gives U.S. citizens living outside the country the right to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections, including those who have left the U.S. permanently. Many states also allow overseas voters to participate in state and local elections.

Today, the federal government estimates that there are roughly 2.9 million non-military Americans eligible to vote from abroad. Another 1.9 million youth under age 18 will become a part of this electorate in coming years. Yet the turnout in the 2020 presidential elections was just 7.8%, compared to nearly 70% stateside.

Voting from abroad can be complicated, in part because rules vary by state. For instance, some states require that registration forms and ballots be submitted by mail, while others allow submission by email or fax. In most states, overseas voters are asked to register to vote by filling out a federal form called the Federal Postcard Application, or FPCA.

The government agency officially tasked with providing federal support for overseas voters is the Department of Defense, because UOCAVA also covers military voters. Specifically, the Department of Defense houses a “Federal Voting Assistance Program” to support overseas voters at the federal level by providing education and resources. Meanwhile, state and local election officials are responsible for receiving the FPCAs submitted by overseas voters and then sending out absentee ballots. As a nonprofit, our role is to help you fill out the necessary form and make sure it gets to the right local election official.

THE PROCESS

  1. Register. Fill out an FPCA form. This takes 5 – 7 minutes, and we’ll walk you through it. This form serves both as your voter registration and your request to receive an absentee ballot.
  2. Vote. Once your FPCA form is approved, you will be put on a list of voters to receive absentee ballots. Your state election officials will send you a ballot 45 days before the next federal election. Depending on your state, you may be able to receive and submit your ballot either by mail or electronically.
  3. Don’t receive your ballot? If you register to vote but for whatever reason do not receive your ballot in time for you to feel confident about submitting your ballot by election day, federal law gives you the right to request an “emergency back-up ballot” called the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Note that if your state absentee ballot arrives after you’ve already sent in the FWAB, you can still fill out and send in the official ballot as well; your state will count only one.

CONTACT US

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or if you run into issues with your registration. Our team is here to help.

Email: info@votersabroad.org

Mail: Center for U.S. Voters Abroad, PO Box 31966, Seattle, WA, USA 98103