July 4th Voting Message for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Madrid, U.S. Consulate General Barcelona (July 2, 2020)

Celebrate democracy this 4th of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections!

In order to vote in the November 2020 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens must complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world! Follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:

1. Register to vote: Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually, so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.

2. Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives), including primaries and special elections, during the calendar year in which it is submitted. FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.

Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.

3. Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office, and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.

4. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, or the consular agencies in Spain:

  • If you are sending your ballot through the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, ballots can be dropped off at the American Citizen Services unit between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., except for U.S. and local holidays
  • If you are sending your ballot through the U.S. Consulate General Barcelona, ballots can be dropped off at the Consulate General between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., except for U.S. and local holidays.
  • If you are sending your ballot through one of the U.S. consular agencies, send an email to the agency located closest to you to schedule an appointment.

Remember that all visitors to U.S. government facilities are subject to security screening and you may not be permitted to bring electronic devices, including cell phones, inside the Embassy or Consulate General.

All ballots submitted via the Embassy, Consulate General, or consular agencies must be placed in postage-paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. domestic postage so they may be delivered to the proper local election authorities. Postage from Spain to the United States is not required using this method.

It can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent through the Embassy, Consulate General, or one of the consular agencies.  All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly. We will forward ballots as soon as possible after they are submitted to us, but you may want to consider using a courier service if submitting your ballot within four weeks of the ballot deadline to ensure your ballot is delivered on time.

Researching the Candidates and Issues:  Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).

Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you would like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or need help with the absentee voting process, please go to FVAP.gov or send an email to vote@fvap.gov. You can also contact U.S. Embassy Madrid at votemadrid@state.gov or U.S. Consulate General Barcelona at votebarcelona@state.gov.

Remember, your vote counts!

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