My Coast Guard
Commentary | Oct. 7, 2020

You can vote from anywhere

By MyCG Staff

Military members and their families should vote absentee now to ensure on-time receipt.

It only takes a few simple steps to make sure your vote is counted. The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) enables you to register to vote and request your absentee ballot.

Step 1: Choose one of the following to register and request your absentee ballot.

  • FPCA ONLINE ASSISTANT
  • Fill out the PDF
  • Pick up a hard copy version from a Voting Assistance Office

Step 2: When your ballot arrives, fill it out and send it in.

It is essential for overseas civilian and military voters to return their voted absentee ballots as soon as they received them, to ensure timely receipt at the election office. If you've already requested an absentee ballot but haven't received it yet, see your options.

"The UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) voting process was designed to reduce obstacles for military and overseas voters," FVAP Director David Beirne said. "We know the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional concerns for overseas voters about receiving and returning their voted ballots on time, and there are several ways to do both as quickly as possible. FVAP.gov has all the information."

What you should know

There is still time to register in most states and request an absentee ballot. Voters can check their state registration and ballot request deadlines (these are different in many states) at FVAP.gov and use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for both. Every state allows the blank ballot to be sent electronically upon request. Please note, some states’ deadlines are in early October, and at the time of this publication (Oct. 7, 2020) some deadlines have passed. 

Vote now. Vote your absentee ballot as soon as you get it, and be sure to sign the package as indicated when returning it.

Send ballots electronically, if allowed by state law. To save time, voters can check if their state accepts completed absentee ballots by email, fax or via an online portal.

Navigate potential COVID-19 mail delays. Voters can check if their country has mail disruptions. Military members can use their Military Post Office, and overseas citizens can check with their nearest embassy or consulate to use the diplomatic pouch.

Make sure the ballot was received. Voters can select their state and click "Check the status of your voted ballot."

If a requested ballot has not arrived, use the backup ballot. If there isn't enough time to receive and send back your requested ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). It works like a backup ballot. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot too. Only one will be counted.

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