Every Vote Counts: Although the next presidential election occurs in 2016, U.S. cities, counties, states, and territories are having significant elections in the next 12 months. Your vote matters. Overseas voting is a three-step process: register to vote, receive an absentee ballot, and send your ballot to your board of elections. Please note that U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; they assist voters by helping them complete and mail registration forms and absentee ballots.
Step 1: Register to Vote
- First-time voters:
a) Start the process online: Review the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s registration page to directly register with a state or territory.
c) Are you a U.S. citizen who has never lived in the United States? Click here to see if you can register to vote.
d) Most states require voters to register 30 days before an election. Don’t miss out!
- Repeat voters:
a) Many board of elections annually refresh their lists, eliminating voters they believe are no longer residing overseas. Checking your status as an overseas voter normally requires less than 15 minutes. Review Can I Vote? or the Federal Voting Assistance Program registration confirmation pages.
Step 2: Receive Your Ballot: County board of elections begin distributing official absentee ballots to registered voters 45 days before an election, and each state has postmark and receipt deadlines. (If you are voting for members of the U.S. House of Representatives and/or the U.S. Senate, and your official ballot did not arrive at your overseas address, registered voters may download and complete a Back-up Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot. Copies are also available at the Embassy.)
Step 3: Return Your Ballot to Your Board of Elections:
b) Return ballots via U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem: Click here for more information.
c) Return ballots via express courier service: If you are close to your state’s deadlines, consider hiring an express courier company such as UPS, DHL, or FedEx.
d) Return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot via email or fax: Some states provide email and fax options for some voters, such as California, Colorado, Florida, and Massachusetts. Review your state’s options by clicking here.
Voting Assistance: Contact the Embassy’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteTelAviv@state.gov. Lots of groups can assist you as well. For example, iVoteIsrael facilitates registration and ballot returns to the United States. Online resources provide information about the policy positions of candidates, such as Project Smart Voter. The Federal Voting Assistance Program can send voting alerts if you email Vote@fvap.gov.