Voting

Notice for Absentee Voters in Chile (January 26, 2021 Update)

VOTING IN U.S. ELECTIONS

Your vote counts!  Did you know that many U.S. elections for house and senate seats have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee 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.

If you want to vote from abroad, you must send in a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials every year – even if you have previously voted from overseas – and every time you change your name, physical address, or email address.  Use the FPCA to request an absentee ballot and to register to vote if you are not currently registered.

Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in U.S. elections:

1   Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).  You must complete a new FPCA to ensure you receive your ballot for the U.S elections.  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.  The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.  (Check with your state’s elections officials about voting in local elections.)

You can complete the FPCA online at www.FVAP.gov .  The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. All U.S. citizens can receive their blank ballots electronically. Depending on the state in which you are eligible to vote, you may get your ballot by email, fax, or internet download.  Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website.  FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature.  If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.

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.

If it is already within 45 days before Election Day and you have not yet received your ballot, fill out and mail in an emergency write-in ballot:  the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You can also drop off your FWAB in person at the embassy and we will mail it to the United States for you via Diplomatic Post Office (see below).

3   Returning 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, you can do so through international mail, or professional courier service. Routine operations at U.S. Embassy Santiago have been suspended due the COVID-19 pandemic, however you can still drop off your FPCA or completed ballot in person at our Embassy, and we will mail it to the United States for you free of charge via our Diplomatic Post Office (DPO).

Ballots must be placed in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. domestic postage so they may be delivered to the proper local election authorities (NOTE: postage from Chile to the United States is not required using this method).  Please note that all visitors to the Embassy are subject to security screening and you may not be permitted to bring electronic devices, including cell phones, inside the facility.  Please note that it can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent through the embassy or consulate.  All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly.

You may want to consider returning your ballot via a private courier service or international mail if the deadline for return of your ballot is near.

Special Election in Louisiana’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts

The State of Louisiana will conduct two special primary elections on Tuesday, March 20, 2021, to fill a vacancy for the 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts. Congressional District 2 includes nearly all of the city of New Orleans and stretches west and north to Baton Rouge. Congressional District 5 includes rural northeastern Louisiana and much of central Louisiana, as well as the northern part of Louisiana’s Florida parishes in southeast Louisiana, taking in Monroe, Alexandria, Opelousas, Amite and Bogalusa.

Service members, eligible family members, and overseas citizens who are registering to vote for the first time can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) available at fvap.gov/FPCA. A fillable PDF is also available. Voters must submit their completed, signed FPCA to their local election officials in Louisiana via email, mail, or fax by February 17, 2021.

Those who have already registered to vote but have not yet requested their ballot can do so by submitting the FPCA to their local election officials in Louisiana via email, mail, or fax by 4:30 PM CT on March 19, 2021.

Finally, voters who already registered and requested their absentee ballot must return their completed, signed absentee ballot by mail or fax before 8pm CT on March 20, 2021.

Voters who have not received their requested state ballot can use the backup ballot called the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) available at fvap.gov/FWAB. A fillable PDF is also available. Voters must return their completed, signed backup ballot by mail or fax before 8pm CT on March 20, 2021.

FVAP offers an email-to-fax service for service members and their eligible family members, as well as overseas citizens, who do not have access to a fax machine. Voters can email their completed ballot to fax@FVAP.gov before the ballot return deadline. A member of the FVAP team will fax the ballot to the appropriate election office on behalf of the voter. Detailed instructions and county contact information are available at fvap.gov/louisiana You can check the status of your absentee ballot by contacting your election office directly. Not voting in Louisiana? Find your state’s primary election dates on the FVAP.gov website. To find your state’s election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices, visit our contact page.

Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov.  

Remember, your vote counts! 

Be absent, but accounted for!

Researching the Candidates and Issues  

If you would like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or need help with the absentee voting process, please go to FVAP.gov or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email (vote@fvap.gov).

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 online.  You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, or search the internet to locate articles and information.  For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov).  FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook  (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvap.gov).