All U.S. citizens can receive their blank ballots electronically. Depending on the state in which you are eligible to vote, you may get your ballot by email, fax, or internet download. To start, go to www.FVAP.gov to complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), print and sign the form then return it to your local election office in the United States. We recommend overseas U.S. citizens get in the habit of completing FPCAs each January. You should include your email address on the form so it’s easier for your election officials to reach you if there is a problem. If your state delivers ballots electronically by fax only, be sure to include your fax number. If you request electronic delivery and include your email address or fax number, you’ll receive your blank ballot 45 days before general and mid-term elections and generally 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot.
Important note: States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle so everyone who wants to vote in U.S. elections from overseas should send in a new Federal Post Card Application in January of each year.
Options for Returning Your Completed Ballot
A. For the fastest service, use the Spanish Postal System: Place Spanish postage on your completed, signed, dated, FPCA or voted ballot, and mail it directly to the local election officials in the state where you vote. Make sure USA is indicated at the end of the address of your U.S. board of elections. Then just mail it from any Spanish post office box.
B. Drop off at the American Citizen Services Office: If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest embassy or consulate. They must be in either U.S. postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and must also be addressed to the relevant local election officials.
You may drop your signed, sealed, dated FPCA registration or your sealed voted ballot in person at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid or Consulate General in Barcelona. FPCA’s and voted ballots must be addressed to the appropriate county board of elections in the United States. Check your office at: http://www.fvap.gov/search-offices
We can accept FPCAs and voted ballots
- Go to the Consular Section entrance of the U.S. Embassy Madrid with your FPCA or voted ballot, weekdays between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm; or go to U.S. Consulate General Barcelona entrance, weekdays between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm;
- Announce you would like to drop off voting materials;
- Present suitable ID (preferably a U.S. passport);
- Present the sealed registration or ballot;
- The ballot will be screened (but not opened) by security;
- After the security check, come to the American Citizen Services Office.
C. Fax, E-mail, or Internet: Some states now allow these options, however, they may also require you to still mail in the signed paper ballot.
D. Returning ballots via express courier service: Voters can hire express courier companies such as UPS, DHL, and FedEx to return voted ballots. Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before Election Day prior to payment and shipment.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the Internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website FVAP.gov
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the Madrid Voting Assistance by email at: (VoteMadrid@state.gov) or the Barcelona Voting Assistance by email at: (VoteBarcelona@state.gov).