Message for U.S. Citizens: Voting Overseas – October 5 Registration and Ballot Request Deadlines in some States September 9, 2020

United States Embassy Manila, Philippines

Message for U.S. Citizens: Voting Overseas – October 5 Registration and Ballot Request Deadlines in some States
September 9, 2020

Overseas absentee voting is fast, easy, and available anywhere in the world. Overseas voters who are eligible to vote can participate in all general, primary, and special elections for federal offices. Some states allow overseas voters to vote in state and local elections.

• Fast:  Most U.S. citizens can complete the voter registration and ballot request application online in a matter of minutes. Register to vote in just a few quick clicks or taps, wherever you are in the world.

• Easy:  It has never been easier to obtain information on the voting process for each state. U.S. citizens can go to FVAP.gov/citizen-voter to select their state from a U.S. map. Most states have options for voters to register and request ballots online. Some states also have options for eligible voters to submit registration forms and return voted ballots by email or fax.

• Anywhere:  U.S. citizens can vote from anywhere they roam, whether it’s the European countryside or a Pacific island. Voters can mail their completed and signed ballots using the local country’s international postal service or drop off the completed ballot package at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, and we’ll get it to the U.S. Postal Service for delivery to your election office. Be sure to sign your absentee ballot before sealing it in the mailing envelope. Local election officials will reject unsigned ballots.

You may drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, at:

·         U.S. Embassy Manila’s public entrance from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for U.S. and local holidays. 

·         Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, except for U.S. and local holidays. 

Voters may also mail in completed forms and ballots to the address below, and the embassy will forward the items to the United States. Please make sure that your voter document is in a pre-paid envelope or that it has sufficient postage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please expect delays with domestic and international mail. Send your completed forms and ballots to:

American Citizen Services Unit (Consular)

ATTN: Voter Information

U.S. Embassy Manila

1201 Roxas Boulevard

Ermita, Manila, Philippines 1000

Remember, in some states, voter registration and ballot request deadlines are as early as October 5, 2020, for the November 2020 presidential election. If you have never voted while overseas before, it is not too late. The process is easy ­– just follow these steps:

1.      Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the 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)

The FVAP online tool will walk you through the form and provide you with a PDF packet to print, sign, and send directly to your local election official (LEO). Some states offer online voter registration. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, or courier service. Place your voting forms in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address them to the relevant local election officials. Another option is to drop off election materials at the Embassy’s public entrance from 8a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for U.S. and local holidays or the Veterans Affairs Regional Manila Office from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for U.S. and local holidays. 

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, please drop your ballot off with us by October 2 to account for transit times.  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 officialsYou can download the postage paid envelope from the FVAP.gov website 

If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the electionuse 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 it out and send in the official ballot too. Only one will be counted. After you send in your ballot, you cancheck if it was received by your election office.

Your vote counts! Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline (differs by state).  Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online and search the Internet to locate articles and information.

To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.

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

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For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Advisories, Alerts, and the Philippines Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard, at +(63) (2) 5301-2000, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(63) (2) 5301-2000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.