How to vote in the 2016 US presidential election from abroad
Relocate Global's guide to voting in the 2016 Presidential Election, for US citizens living and working abroad.
Steps to register to vote in the upcoming US Presidential Election:
- Request a ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website. The FVAP.gov site has an online assistant that will “walk you through completion of the form and provides a populated fillable PDF”.
- Once you have completed the online registration form for your US election ballot, make sure to print and sign the form.
- Post the form to your local election office.
- Choose your candidate and vote
- Post your completed US election ballot to the address specified
- a U.S. citizen
- at least 18 years old
- be absent from your voting residence
Update: Unfortunately not. You will only be able to vote via an absentee ballot.
I live in the UK. Can I vote in person at a polling station?
How can I make sure my ballot is received in time to be counted towards this election?Your completed ballot should be postmarked and mailed on or before Election Day. Note that some states only count ballots that were received before or on Election Day – so you should make sure to mail your ballot several weeks before Election Day to ensure your ballot is received in time.If you use regular mail to post your ballot, make sure the date on the postmark (on or before election day) is clearly visible. Make sure to write USA on the envelope, to speed the USPS sorting and delivery process.
Can I check the status of my absentee ballot?Some people are understandably concerned about whether a vote from abroad will count. Several states, such as California, allow you to track the progress of your absentee ballot. You can access this on the FVAP.gov website.
I've not received my absentee ballot in time – what can I do?You should receive your US election ballot 30 days before the election. However, things do go wrong with the post, unfortunately. If you've not received your ballot in time, you'll need to complete the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) using the online assistant at the FVAP.gov website.If your normal ballot arrives after you've sent this off, complete your normal ballot as well. Your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot is only counted if your normal ballot isn't received in time.
What's the point in sending in an absentee ballot – are votes from abroad counted?Yes, votes from outside of the US are most definitely counted. They can even influence the outcome of a US election, such as when overseas voters changed the course of the 2000 election when Bush defeated Gore.Read more about how your vote from abroad can influence the US Presidential election, via Oxford University's Rothermere American Institutes's website.Help with voting in US elections from abroad can be found here:
- Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)
- US Department of State, for legal and tax matters relating to voting abroad
- Democrats Abroad
- Republicans Overseas