Life during study abroad can get very busy, but there’s always time to cast your vote. Below you’ll find a general overview of the absentee voting process to make sure you’re eligible to vote this coming November.
Register + request!
That is, register to vote and request your absentee ballot. Both of these things can be done through one form—the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). This form will ask for basic information, including your:
- Voting residence: Your permanent address in the US where you are registered to vote.
- Current mailing address: Your program’s CET Center address. Once your application has been accepted, you can find this mailing address in your Pre-Departure Guide for Student Life (in your online CET account). But if your state allows it, we recommend requesting an electronic ballot.
While you could fill this out abroad, it’s recommended that you fill this out as soon as possible. Tackling this task early allows ample time for your request to process, as well as the opportunity to easily work out any potential issues.
After submitting your FPCA, your local election officials will determine your voting eligibility and add your name to the absentee ballot list for 2020.
Your state will send you a blank ballot (via email or the address you provided on your FPCA) forty-five days before the November general election. Once you have yours, fill it out (as soon as possible!) and return it to your local election officials by your state’s deadlines.
If you successfully completed your FPCA but don’t receive your ballot thirty days before the election, try contacting your local election officials. If in the end you still don’t receive your ballot, you can submit a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Get started here.
Returning your ballot
There are a few ways to return your ballot to your local election officials, make sure you know what methods are permitted in your state. If you require assistance in submitting your ballot (i.e., contacting a courier or navigating the local mail service, etc.), on-site staff will gladly assist you to the best of their abilities.
Once your CET application has been accepted (so you have your international mailing address), it’s time to register! Head to the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website to get started on your FPCA.
For more detailed information on the absentee voting process, check out any of these resources:
- Federal Voting Assistance Program
- U.S. Department of State | Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad
- U.S. Vote Foundation