Published On: Wed, Jun 22nd, 2016

Steps U.S. citizens overseas must take to vote in November elections

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In order to vote in the November 2016 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2016. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

You can always get voting assistance from the consulate or consular agencies or drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, during the following hours:

During regular business hours excluding U.S. and Mexican holidays at the U.S. Consulate General in Merida or the U.S. Consular Agencies in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. You may drop off your postage-paid election materials without an appointment so that we may forward them to the U.S. mail system by diplomatic pouch. Normal transit time from Merida to the United States is one to three weeks.

Three Easy Steps to Vote Abroad

To vote from overseas, just follow these steps:

1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2016 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2016 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.

You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. 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). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. 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.

3. Return Your Completed 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, you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address them to the relevant local election officials.

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 on-line. 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 (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebookand Twitter.

Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Merida’s Voting Assistance Officer at 999-942-5700, or at VoteMerida@state.gov.

Source: U.S. Consulate Merida

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