Imagine your first month abroad: you arrive, you’ve got a million things going on — places to go, sights to see, people to meet, food to eat. Now add registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot to your list. We know exactly how that feels, which is why we’re here.
We hear you’re about to embark on one of the best experiences of your life! If you’re like us, you know how important the upcoming election is. During a midterm election, you have the chance to share your opinion on how the current administration is doing. In addition, you can help decide which party controls the lawmakers until the next election year.
In case you were not aware, yes, you can vote from abroad! Awesome, right? We thought so, too. Here are a few simple steps to vote.
1. Register and Request a Ballot
Deadline to register to vote: February 18, 2020
Tip: Every state has different deadlines for ballot request, registration, and return. Not a California resident? Check yours now.
Overseas Vote has a convenient website to help you register and request your ballot, which must arrive no later than February 25, 2020.
To get your ballot, you’ll need to fill out a form and provide a residential address abroad. The form is simple, and it generates an application for you to print, sign, and mail. You’ll also print a prepaid US postage label addressed to your local election office (the people responsible for sending you your ballot). Since you’re abroad, you’ll have to add the additional postage. Watch this video for a 3-minute overview of the process.
2. Vote and Mail your Ballot
California Mailing Deadline: March 3, 2020
Once you send your application, you can verify your voter registration status with your local elections office. After this, you can expect to receive your ballot at your current address abroad so you can participate in the upcoming election! Be sure to mail your ballot before the deadline.
3. Get Answers to Common Questions
Got questions? Submit a question to the Voter Help Desk.
Some common questions and answers include:
- What if I’m already registered to vote? You must register as an overseas voter even if you’re already registered in the US.
- What should I list as my US Address? List the last place you lived; either your home address or campus address
- What is my Current Address? List the address abroad where you want your ballot sent
- Should I use the email option? If this is available, definitely use it! It’s faster and more convenient.
- What’s the ID Number? This can be your state driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security.
- Do I need to list a Party Preference? This is required to vote in closed primaries, but otherwise unnecessary.
- What are my options for Ballot Return? Even if you email your ballot, you’ll need to print, sign, and mail it.