Instructions for voting in US elections can sometimes be confusing; and this notice received from the US State Department is no different! However, if you are voting in the November elections, this information is helpful. Thankfully, much of it can be done online. Read on with patience and perseverance! I have tried to edit; bold, italics, etc are my additions. -m
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.
If you have never voted while overseas before, the process is easy just follow these steps:
1. Request Your Ballot
2. Receive and Complete Your Ballot
3. Return Your Completed Ballot
Contact information for more help is included at the end of the whole article
1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Request and 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.
If you do not already have enough information, 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. Nonpartisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, 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 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 Guadalajara’s Voting
Assistance Officer at voteGuadalajara@state.gov .
You can always get voting assistance from the U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara or drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, during the following hours: 2:00 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday (except Mexican and American holidays). Normal transit time from Guadalajara to the United States is 30 days.
Contact the U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara, located at Progreso 175, Americana, 44160
Guadalajara, JAL, Mexico. Open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
You may also call 011+52 333 268 2100 during normal business hours and afterhours. More information for Guadalajara office .
For further information:
See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Mexico.
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Contact information for other U.S. Consulates General in Mexico can be found on the U.S. Embassy Mexico City website.
Remember, your vote counts!