VOTING IN 2020 U.S. ELECTIONS
Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world!
Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more. Once you confirm your registration, follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:
Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). 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. FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way for you to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
Receive and Complete Your Ballot: 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. 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. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
Return 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, courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy Lome’s diplomatic pouch. If using the diplomatic pouch, a ballot can be dropped off at the U.S. Embassy Lome’s Consular Section by placing your ballot in a postage-paid return envelope or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage (the U.S. Embassy does not sell stamps; go to www.usps.com to purchase online required postage). Make sure that the ballot envelope is addressed to the relevant local election officials. Then, place the sealed envelope into another envelope, seal that second envelope, and write “BALLOT” along with your local cell number in large letters on the front of the envelope. Drop your envelope in the lockbox at the consular entrance during regular business hours. The U.S. Embassy will not open your ballot so long as you place the postage-paid envelope into a second envelope. It may take up to one month for mail to reach its destination if sent by diplomatic pouch. All overseas U.S. citizens should submit their mail-in ballots to the U.S. Embassy at least one month prior to the close of absentee voting.
Researching the candidates and issues: Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Lome’s Voting Assistance Officer at email@example.com.
[Last update: June 8, 2020]
U.S. Embassy Lomé, Togo
(+228) 2261 5470
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter