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Overseas voting for US citizens PLEASE PIN


MtnMama
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Request your ballot NOW

Cutoff dates for requesting your ballot vary by state, but are as early as Oct. 3, so don’t put this off. Request your ballot from the last place you were registered to vote, not necessarily the last place you lived. You must submit a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials. The FPCA. serves as both your ballot request and voter registration, and must be received at least 45 days before an election, to allow ample time to process your request and resolve any problems. Once approved, your name will be put on a list of voters to receive absentee ballots. Due to COVID-19, many states are requesting that you verify that you are still living abroad, so fill out the FPCA or verify that you are still eligible to vote on your state’s Secretary of State website.

At a time when both international and U.S. mail services are in a state of disarray, it’s best to avoid them altogether. All states allow fax, email or Internet download for sending your blank ballot to you. If allowed, plan to fax or email your completed ballot back to your county election official. About 20 states require that ballots be returned by mail. See below for more information.

Two websites with tools to help you fill out the FPCA and submit it are http://fvap.gov, which is the official U.S. government site, and http://VotefromAbroad.org, a nonpartisan site created by Democrats Abroad. (One advantage of VotefromAbroad.org is it allows you to capture your signature electronically and email the form directly without having to print it first, although voters in some states, including California and New York, are required to sign by hand in any case.) Both sites also have people available to answer your questions.

If you are not sure you requested your ballot by email, send in a revised ballot request. Make sure to select "Email or online" ballot receipt on the second page. Your Local Election Official will update your information based on the new FPCA. If you’re at all uncertain if you’ve requested this year (during the 2020 calendar year), send in your absentee ballot request form NOW.

Your local election officials will confirm your eligibility to vote and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year. They will send you a blank absentee ballot electronically. Complete and return the ballot so it arrives before your state's ballot return deadline.

If you requested that your ballot be sent to you via email, then you should receive it on or before 19 September. If you don’t see an email from your Local Election Official in your inbox, check your junk/spam or promotions folder. Everyone mark your calendar for SEPT. 19th-----if you are an Overseas Voter, your ballot must be sent to you via electronic means (if you so requested) on or before that date.

If you don’t have a printer/scanner, Papeleria Trinidad (across from SuperLake) or iShop (one block east of SuperLake) are good alternatives. Bring the completed PDF ballot on a thumb drive and they will print it. Sign the ballot (usually 2 places) and have them scan it as a PDF. English is spoken.

If you are from one of the following 26 states/jurisdictions, you can return your voted ballot by EMAIL or ONLINE UPLOAD:

AL, AZ, CO, DC, DE, HI, IA, IN, KS, MA, ME, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE*, NM, NV, OR, RI, SC, UT, WA, WV, WY*

*Nebraska voters must get their Local Election Official's approval to return a voted ballot electronically.

*Wyoming is currently setting up its email return system, so please contact your Local Election Official for details.

If you are from one of the following 5 states, you can return your voted ballot by FAX:

AK, CA, FL, LA*, OK

*Louisiana voters must get their Local Election Official's approval to return a voted ballot electronically.

Please note, you can use the email-to-fax service that is offered free of charge to overseas U.S. citizens by the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

IMPORTANT: be sure to format your .pdf as "U.S. Letter" sized paper. Simply email your completed ballot with the required cover sheet to fax@fvap.gov and it will be faxed to your Local Election Officials.

If you prefer, HelloFax is a popular service you can use directly from your computer. It is free for a limited number of faxes.

20 states still require POSTAL BALLOT RETURN. If you live in one of these states then you MUST return your voted ballot by postal mail:

AR, CT, GA, ID, IL, KY, MD, MI, MN, NH, NJ*, NY, OH, PA, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT*, WI

*NJ voters: New Jersey allows voted ballot return by email. The voter must then also return the original by mail.

Given that the postal systems around the world are severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, we URGE YOU TO VOTE AND RETURN YOUR BALLOT AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE IT. You can aim to get your ballot ready to go by Monday, 21 SEPTEMBER.

Mexico and US Mail alternatives for the above 20 states

Courier Service such as FedEx, UPS or DHL

Your ballot must be enclosed in a ballot envelope. The instructions that come with your ballot will explain how to prepare your ballot envelope. Complete your ballot, put it in the ballot envelope, seal it, make sure to sign the ballot oath, and then put it in the courier service envelope.

Update (Aug. 30): Democrats Abroad has contacted all of these states and they have confirmed that they will accept voted ballot return by a courier service. No date stamp is necessary as long as the voted ballot arrives by close of polls on Election Day.

Per iShop, the cost of mailing a letter 3-5 business days for FedEx is $1063 pesos and DHL is $940 pesos. She said UPS is quite a bit higher.

Diplomatic Pouch

Consular services in many countries are not operating normally or are understaffed, and therefore the diplomatic bag is not a guarantee. Check with your Embassy/Consulate to find out if they are currently accepting election mail. MEXICO Update: Currently we do not know if the Diplomatic Pouch will be available at LCS as it has been in the past. Information will be provided as it becomes available.

Moreover, the diplomatic pouch may not leave every day or even every week, depending on the country. When it does depart, the mail is delivered to the USPS sorting center at Dulles, where it enters into the regular US mail, which is itself experiencing delays. While this approach may avoid the delays of the postal service of the country in which you reside, you should note that there will likely still be delays. The best way to account for delays this year is to VOTE AND RETURN YOUR BALLOT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Note that each state has slightly different rules. Sometimes individual counties have their own rules. CHECK with your local election official. It all comes down to what that local office will accept/reject.

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I would like to add that you should not trust hearsay from others who are from your state.  Contact the election supervisor in the county of the state that you are registered to vote in.  Texas for example seems to have different rules amongst many of the counties.  

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I am still waiting for exact details on dates and times, but Dems Abroad and LCS will be receiving the Diplomatic Pouch for folks from the 20 states who require mailed ballots. Everyone else please plan to email or fax your completed ballot back to your Local Election Official.

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Thanks MtnMama.  I'm eager to get my GA ballot and have it ready to return via "snail mail."  Any information regarding people driving NOB or flying NOB and willing to transport ballots would be appreciated as well.  Also, good to know if we can rely on the Diplomatic Pouch for this election. Too much is at stake to miss a single cast ballot.

Everyone should exercise their right to VOTE!

Val  :)

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39 minutes ago, thevalerieleigh said:

Thanks MtnMama.  I'm eager to get my GA ballot and have it ready to return via "snail mail."  Any information regarding people driving NOB or flying NOB and willing to transport ballots would be appreciated as well.  Also, good to know if we can rely on the Diplomatic Pouch for this election. Too much is at stake to miss a single cast ballot.

Everyone should exercise their right to VOTE!

Val  :)

The ballot needs a Mexican postmark or stamp of some kind. That is why you can't use iShop or HandiMail or Sol y Luna. THey truck the mail north and post it in Laredo. Mail with a US postmark can be rejected. 😒

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21 hours ago, MtnMama said:

I am still waiting for exact details on dates and times, but Dems Abroad and LCS will be receiving the Diplomatic Pouch for folks from the 20 states who require mailed ballots. Everyone else please plan to email or fax your completed ballot back to your Local Election Official.

I sent my ballot to California, via diplomatic pouch, in plenty of time for the 2016 presidential election.  The California elections people never received the ballot, and the embassy in Mexico City said it had been lost somewhere along the way.  I re-sent it via fax, an expensive proposition.  Caveat emptor, so to speak, but it arrived in time to be counted. 

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On 9/12/2020 at 2:17 PM, MtnMama said:

I am still waiting for exact details on dates and times, but Dems Abroad and LCS will be receiving the Diplomatic Pouch for folks from the 20 states who require mailed ballots. Everyone else please plan to email or fax your completed ballot back to your Local Election Official.

NOTE:  I posted the information yesterday afternoon for voter help at LCS on both the Ajijic board and the LCS section for the widest exposure. This service is available to any political persuasion  even though it is sponsored by organizations   VOTE FROM ABROAD as well as DEMOCRATS ABROAD. The entry on this section seems to have disappeared so please check the LAKE CHAPALA SOCIETY forum for information on voting and the voter ballot deposit box which will then be given to the U.S. Consulate for transfer to the U.S. if you so require.

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THANK YOU LCSnotices. Let's keep everything in one place. Here is the text regarding LCS voter assistance. GOOD JOB YOU GUYS!

The Lake Chapala Get Out The Vote (GOTV) team will be offering in-person U.S. voter assistance daily, from Monday, September 21 to Tuesday, September 29, 10 am to 1 pm at LCS, on the Neill James Mural Art Patio. Voters from states that require them to return their ballots by mail (check at VoteFromAbroad.org/states) will be given priority. Voters may deposit their ballots in the secure ballot collection box, which will be transported to the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara and from there to the U.S. Enter through the Lakeside Entrance, Del Paseo #50. The NJ Mural Art Patio is on the way to the Gazebo. Masks must be worn at all times on the LCS Campus, and all other required health protocols must also be followed. Questions? Contact: LakeChapalaVOTE@gmail.com.

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5 hours ago, More Liana said:

I sent my ballot to California, via diplomatic pouch, in plenty of time for the 2016 presidential election.  The California elections people never received the ballot, and the embassy in Mexico City said it had been lost somewhere along the way.  I re-sent it via fax, an expensive proposition.  Caveat emptor, so to speak, but it arrived in time to be counted. 

fyi, there are plenty of FREE online FAX services, allowing x pages per day for free.  I used a free FAX service to vote in FL Dem Primary this year.  I emailed my local county Election Official prior to the FAX to get the number.  After I sent it, a staffer in office emailed me to say it had been received.  

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Found this at https://www.fvap.gov/eo/overview/sending-ballots/preparing-mail

Not quite sure how it works...is it printable, do you tape to front of normal envelope??

Anyone know??

Quote

 

Postage-Paid Indicia

Election materials for UOCAVA citizens can be sent as free postage-paid via First-Class Mail as authorized by 39 USC 3406 by election officials. These election materials include the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), and State election materials, including letters acknowledging registration and State absentee ballots. To assist election officials, we have created the following envelope templates with the postage-paid indicia:

NOTE: It is important to remind UOCAVA citizens when returning balloting materials to you, the free postage-paid indicia can only be used if mailing from a U.S. Post Office, the Military Postal Service Agency (APO/FPO), or U.S. Diplomatic Pouch Mail. Materials sent through a foreign mail system or via common carrier (such as FedEx, DHL or UPS) must pay the rate for that service themselves.

 

 

 

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Original post is incorrect in that Texas requires a mailed ballot. It varies county to county. My county allows an email ballot as long as it is preapproved. If you're registered in Texas you need to check with your county election official. Much easier than USPS.

Postscript: Just received my ballot via email, but it can't be returned via email. USPS prepaid mailer included. Not what my county said in previous emails, but I found a mule.

 

Edited by Dan Hodge
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38 minutes ago, Dan Hodge said:

Original post is incorrect in that Texas requires a mailed ballot. It varies county to county. My county allows an email ballot as long as it is preapproved. If you're registered in Texas you need to check with your county election official. Much easier than USPS.

 

ALWAYS best to check with your local election official.  Thx for posting.

Would you mind sharing the County--it might help others who would like to be pre-approved for emailing their ballot.  

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We just received our email ballots for Webb County, TX.  Please read your email carefully and be sure to include your signature sheet with your Texas ballot.  We had to click on their link for the sheet, it was not included in the attachments.  Webb County does not allow email or fax return of the ballot.

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Tomorrow September 19th is the federally-imposed deadline for states to email (when requested) or mail or fax ballots to those registered as Voters from Abroad.  

Those of you who requested email blank ballots, check your email tomorrow, including your Spam folder. 

Contact you local Voting Official if you do not get your ballot. Sooner rather than later!

And as @desafinada has stated, find the instructions for your ballot, read and follow precisely.  Any questions should be addressed to your local Voting Official's office.  

 

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Our FL ballots arrived via email yesterday....a day earlier than the federal deadline which is today (for email or mailing of blank ballots to Overseas Voters).  Please check your email, including your Spam folder to see if yours came today.  If you asked for them to be emailed to you and you did not get them, contact your local official on Monday.  

We can FAX (or snail mail) our completed ballots.  I will wait until Monday, call my County Elections office to confirm their FAX number before sending.  When I voted in their primary earlier this year, that's what I did and they even emailed me confirmation of my FAX.  

 

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Harris County Texas recently arrived tonight.

NOTE: IF you are mailing via the Diplomatic Pouch,  you must use a standard size business envelope to avail yourself of the US POSTAGE PAID.  In 2016 I taped or glued the envelope front and back to a 5 x 7 inch manila envelope.  I had to buy stamps at LCS in order to mail it.  Since LCS is just opening on Monday, I don't know how their stamp supply is - or Dems Abroad.

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