Voter Resource Center

Registering to Vote

Most States require you to register to vote to start the absentee voting process. U.S. citizens living abroad can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to both register to vote and request their absentee ballots. We encourage you to use the Automated Voter Assistant to submit your FPCA. Voters should send in a new FPCA every year and after a move.

Absentee Voting: The Basics

Absentee voting is a simple two-step process:

  1. As explained above, each year, voters are encouraged to submit a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to their local U.S. election officials. This can be done with the Automated Voter Assistant, or you can download the FPCA here   and send it via post. The FPCA will:

    Confirm your eligibility to vote and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year.

    Send you a blank absentee ballot electronically or by mail.

  2. Complete and return the ballot so it arrives before your state’s ballot return deadline.

    If you have not received your blank ballot 30 days before an election, use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote.

Most states now have voter registration verification websites. Many offer a way to track the status of your registration and ballot. In general, if you requested electronic delivery of your blank ballot, you will receive it 45 days before general and midterm elections, and 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices.