Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for the House and Senate have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote!
1. Register and Request Your Ballot: Annually you must complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF 321 KB) in order to receive a ballot at election time. Most states now allow voters to complete and submit their FPCA online, be sure to use the FPCA online assistant for state specific guidance. You must complete a new FPCA after January 1st every year to ensure you receive your ballot for any upcoming elections.
Under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), the completion of the FPCA allows you to request an absentee ballot for any federal office election (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
As mentioned, some states allow voters to register electronically, some even permit voters to vote electronically as well. We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.
2. 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. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. If you do not receive an absentee ballot 30 days prior to the election, you should complete and submit the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to ensure your vote is received in time to be counted.
3. Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. Place your ballot in an envelope with sufficient domestic U.S. postage and address it to the relevant election official. You can also return election materials via international mail or commercial courier service at your own expense.
Election materials can be dropped off at either U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi or U.S. Consulate General Dubai, Sunday through Thursday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (except on U.S. or UAE holidays). No appointment is necessary.
The Consular Sections in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will accept and mail ballots for U.S. citizens registered in Louisiana’s 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts which are conducting special primary elections on March 20, 2021, to fill vacancies. Information regarding special primary elections, including registration and voting deadlines, can be found at FVAP.gov.
As we cannot guarantee that ballots will arrive in the United States on time to meet local election officials’ requirements, we urge eligible voters to submit voting materials at least two weeks before any deadlines. You may also consider returning your ballot to the United States via a commercial express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL for quick delivery.
Please follow these instructions to drop your ballot at the embassy or consulate:
- Bring your addressed and postage paid/stamped envelope to the Embassy or Consulate;
- Security will screen your envelope;
- Watch your envelope be deposited into the secure drop box.
If do not have sufficient postage, you can receive a standard sized, postage-paid envelope upon check-in. Please be sure to know the address of the relevant election official.
If you have an existing appointment for a passport, notary, consular report of birth abroad, or other service at the embassy or consulate, you may bring your election materials to that appointment as you will be able mail your things simultaneously.
Not sure if you are eligible to vote?
In some states, U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and were born abroad, but have never resided in the United States, are eligible to vote absentee. Check the list to see if you are eligible. If your state is not listed please contact your election officials.
U.S. Mission to the UAE Absentee Voting Presentation
Watch this video to learn more about Absentee Voting from the UAE!
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. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line. 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. 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 U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi’s Voting Assistance Officer at AbuDhabiACS@State.gov, or at VoteAbuDhabi@State.gov. Residents of Dubai and the Northern Emirates may contact VoteDUBAI@state.gov.
Remember, your vote counts!