American expats can vote in elections online

by Ray Clancy on February 3, 2012

American expats can submit an Overseas Absentee Ballot Request

American expats can now register to be able to vote in the forthcoming general election by submitting an Overseas Absentee Ballot Request.

Many like to do so because as expats there are some issues such as taxation, communications, privacy, commerce, copyrights, and transportation, along with foreign policy, that affect American citizens where ever they are in the world.

New voting laws are in effect for the 2012 elections, requiring US citizens who are planning to vote from outside the country to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form.

Although some primaries have already taken place, expats can still vote in the rest which take place, depending on which state, between now and the end of April.

All states are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election, and local election officials will provide a blank ballot electronically via email, as a download, or by fax. Registration and ballot delivery can also now be confirmed online.

The Federal Voting Assistance Programme (FVAP) makes sure that voting in the 2012 general election is easy and secure. In many states you can actually vote electronically and there is online ballot access.

For expats who still have an address in the US which they intend to return to the process means using that address. Expats who have no intention of returning to the US and who have no permanent address there can using the last address where you were registered at, regardless of whether or not you continue to have any connections to that location. Or they can use some other address that is used for banking or business.

The FVAP website allows expats to complete and print a registration/ballot request form and download a PDF with all the voting information you need, the filled out form and a prepaid label to be printed onto an envelope.

In some cases, it varies from state to state, expats can scan the signed documents and email them to the local election office, in others the original documents need to be posted. Forms can also be taken to a US Embassy, a consulate, or a consular agency.

Each state has its own rules, so options and deadlines will vary. The guidelines recommend that expats register as soon as possible so that if there are any queries or problems they can be sorted out well before the November election.

The guidelines also recommend including an email address, telephone number, or a fax number so that you can be contacted if there are queries.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony Frank Paschall May 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm

There are *numerous* errors in this article that could mislead American voters and result in their being denied the right to vote.

If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and are not registered to vote or have not filed an absentee ballot request in 2012, go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program now at Get your voter registration application and absentee ballot request, sign and mail it to your local election bureau in the United States.

Or contact the Voting Assistance Officer at your military installation, or the Voting Action Officer at your nearest embassy or consulate.

Please be aware that because of new legislation passed in 2009, if you do not request ballots every calendar year, you may simply not receive ballots, even if you voted absentee in previous elections from overseas. And you may have no recourse if your ballots do not arrive on time.

The Union of Overseas Voters, a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Paris, France, and governed by U.S. citizens overseas. We will also be delighted to provide any information or assistance you may need. Don’t hesitate to contact us!


Deborah Jobson October 17, 2016 at 11:16 pm

I have tried about three months ago as a 30 yr expat to register to vote in the NOV 4th election. I have not been successful. The online application failed because I don’t have a valid Louisiana drivers’ licence (duh?). Why not ask for a valid US passport number? I then completed and sent via registered mail my application to the voter registrar in Thibodaux, Louisiana. That was unsuccessful as they said my last known US address was in California. I then completed and sent the paperwork to CA and have never heard from Anyone despite follow up emails.

I don’t believe that expats are encouraged to vote, sadly, the contrary.


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