Message for U.S. Citizens: Steps to Vote in 2020 U.S. Elections

In some states voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2020 election are as early as October 5th.  Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) each year to ensure you are able to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon if you have not already received it. If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request you should contact your local election officials in the United States or check the status of your registration via your state’s voter registration verification website. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (September 19) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.

You may drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, for delivery to the United States via diplomatic pouch free of charge at the U.S. Embassy Nicosia’s North Gate (Metochiou Street) any working day from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.  We encourage all voters to submit their FPCA and ballots as early as possible due to possible delays in mail service during the global pandemic. For questions, please contact the U.S. Embassy Nicosia at ACSNicosia@state.gov.

If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy ­– just follow these steps:

1. Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.

The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. No matter which state you vote in, 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). Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.

2. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Follow the instructions above to submit your FPCA to the U.S. Embassy. You may have a friend or family member drop off your FPCA at the embassy on your behalf or you can send your FPCA or ballot directly to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service (DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc.) at your own expense.

3. Receive Your Ballot

After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection.  States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (September 19) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.

4. Return Your Ballot

We recommend that if you plan to return your paper ballot to your election officials via the U.S. Embassy Nicosia, please return your ballot by October 2 to account for transit times between overseas posts and local voting districts.  If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a postage-paid envelope or envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. You can download the postage paid envelope from the FVAP.gov website (Insert post-specific instructions for how voters can submit forms and ballots to the consular section to be returned to the United States via unclassified pouch.) In order to be mailed by the U.S. Embassy, ballots must be addressed to your voting precinct as directed in the instructions you receive.  U.S. Embassy staff cannot write the postal address for you.

If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).  It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot too. Only one will be counted.

After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.

If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the U.S. Embassy Nicosia’s Voting Assistance Officer at ACSNicosia@state.gov.

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