Voting Overseas

Voting in 2018 Midterm Elections

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 in the 2018 midterm elections:

1.     Register and Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF 321 KB). A helpful online assistant tool is available that you may use by selecting your state on this page. You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2018 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2018 elections. The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (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.

You can complete the FPCA online at The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you 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. 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.

3.     Return Your Completed 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 consulate. Place your ballots in an envelope with sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials.

If you elect to mail your ballot via the Embassy, there are two options: 1) You may mail your ballot via regular U.S. mail, which will cost the normal U.S. domestic postage. Please allow at least one extra week for the ballot to arrive in the United States. 2) You may mail your ballot via diplomatic pouch, which requires no postage. Diplomatic pouch can take a very long time to arrive so please allow for at least six extra weeks to mail your ballot.

Please follow these instructions to drop your ballot at the Embassy between 08am and 04pm during normal business days:

  1. Bring your open and unsealed, self-addressed, and (if sending via regular mail) self-stamped envelope to the Embassy;
  2. Security will screen your envelope and return it to you;
  3. You may then seal your envelope, and;
  4. Deposit the envelope in the drop box.

If it’s more convenient for you, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.

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, If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi’s Voting Assistance Officer at, or at Residents of Dubai and the Northern Emirates may contact

Remember, your vote counts!