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Last Minute Voting From Overseas Advice

With election day in less than a week, here are some last minute things to think about if you’re voting from outside of the US

Published on October 28, 2020

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With less than a week to go until the US Elections on November 3, 2020, we've compiled some last minute resources to help answer some pressing questions as the clocks count down til the polls close.

Can I Still Register To Vote?

This depends on your state; some states have a deadline in October for registering as a voter, although some allow you to register and submit your registration with your ballot, almost up until election day. Use this tool on the FVAP website to find out what your state's deadlines are: www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter.

Can I Still Return My Absentee Ballot Paper?

If you still have your absentee ballot, vote and submit it as soon as possible. Although many states will accept ballots after election day, there are varying rules around extra time available, and some courts have already begun to consider rulings against accepting late paperwork. As such, voting ASAP is essential. Use the FVAP's state by state guides - www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter - to find out the specific deadlines and rules for your state.

What About Postal Delays?

Amid the pandemic, there have been reports of delays in international shipping, including between the UK and the US. You can use USPS International Service Alerts to reveal any disruptions in post from your country to the US. For example, at the moment, USPS advice that for mail between the UK and the US, Priority Mail Express International guarantee is suspended.

What Can I Do About Postal Delays?

Alternatives to sending your ballot via Royal Mail or USPS include using your nearest US Embassy's diplomatic pouch service, or private courier services. Also, check if your state is accepting ballot submissions electronically, you can find out using this tool from the FVAP - www.fvap.gov/guide.

How Can I Check My Ballot Arrived?

You can confirm if your absentee ballot arrived at your election office by going to www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter, and clicking "Check the status of your voted ballot".

What If I Haven't Received My Absentee Ballot Yet?

If you haven't received your absentee ballot, and there isn't time for a new one to be sent and submitted, you can use the backup form - the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which you can download here - www.fvap.gov/fwab-privacy-notice. The FWAB works like a regular ballot, so you'll need to print it out, fill it out and send it. If you need to do this by mail, based on your state's ballot rules, make sure you factor in mailing times.

What If I Have A Different Question?

As always with last minute election voting speed is essential. If you have a question you can contact an organization like the FVAP as soon as you can to ask. You can find contact details for the FVAP or your local election assistance office at www.fvap.gov/info/contact.

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