The Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Department of State’s page on Absentee Voting Information are the most up-to-date voting information resources for Americans living abroad. Please visit these websites to learn about deadlines and procedures for registering and voting.
Registering to vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world! Follow a few simple steps to vote in the U.S. November 2020 elections:
- Register to vote: 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 gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.
- 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 to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way 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: 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. 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, professional courier service, or through U.S. Embassy Lusaka’s diplomatic pouch. The diplomatic pouch provides free mail service from embassies and consulates to a U.S. sorting facility. You will need to place your ballots in postage-paid return envelopes, or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage, in order for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. sorting facility.
If you plan to use the diplomatic pouch, you can drop off your ballots at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka. A voting box is located at the Embassy’s main gate entrance, and is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please remember that you must bring a face covering when you come to the Embassy.
The address and contact information for the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka is:
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. 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 online.
For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (email@example.com).
Remember…your vote counts!
Message for U.S. Citizens – Don’t Let the Elections Pass You By
If you plan to vote in the November 2020 election it is important to ACT NOW! Don’t wait, return your voted ballot right away! Remember U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States – but you can get assistance in requesting and returning your absentee ballot. Many states require voted ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 3.
The Department of State is committed to assisting overseas voters in casting their ballots. For instructions on how to vote from Zambia please see our website. For general overseas voting information please see the Department of State’s web site Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad or FVAP.gov.
Never received your ballot? If you registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot prior to your state’s registration deadline, but have not yet received your ballot, complete and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to ensure your vote reaches election officials by your state’s deadline. If your regular ballot arrives later, complete and return it as well. Your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot will only be counted if your regular ballot does not reach local election officials by your state’s deadline. Your vote will not be counted twice.
RETURNING YOUR BALLOT:
Note that the U.S. Postal Service recommends voters mail their completed ballots before Election Day and at least one week prior to your state’s deadline. To allow processing time between Department of State and U.S. Postal Service systems this means ballots must be received in the embassy no later than October 13, 2020. Ballots received after that date will be forwarded, but may arrive too late to be counted. Please also check the regulations in the state in which you vote as deadlines may differ, and you may have alternative voting options such as electronic voting or by fax.
The above timeline is based on current local and U.S. conditions, which are subject to change. Should conditions change and impact the timeline we will alert you. We strongly recommend you submit your ballot as far in advance as possible.
If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a U.S. postage-paid envelope (provided with the ballot) or an envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. If you plan to use the diplomatic pouch, you can drop off your ballots at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka. A voting box is located at the embassy’s main gate entrance, and is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please remember that you must bring a face covering when you come to the embassy.
Missed the U.S. Embassy shipment deadline? Consider returning your ballot to the United States via a commercial express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL or return your voted ballot electronically if allowed by your state. Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before November 3 prior to payment and shipment. Check your state’s voting procedures at www.FVAP.gov for guidance.
HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING. Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot. Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.
Have Questions? Please contact Embassy Lusaka’s Voting Assistance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program directly if you encounter issues with local election officials by emailing Vote@FVAP.gov or toll free by phone from many countries around the world.
Confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website at www.FVAP.gov.