Voting by Absentee Ballot

Register to VoteWe at Arcadia University are committed to being a full-service study abroad provider. As part of this commitment, we want to help you vote in the event of an election while you are abroad, should you so choose. For those of you who have yet to make the necessary arrangements to vote from overseas, the following information will assist you in registering to vote while abroad.  

Register to Vote

If you are registered to vote, it is a good idea to re-confirm your registration.  This is important as it will determine where you will need to mail your completed ballot.

If you are not currentlly registered to vote and you have not departed the United States, it is best to register before you depart for your study abroad program overseas.  Many states have multiple ways of registering to vote including visiting your local board of elections office.  To find out how to register to vote in your state, visit your state’s website through the following portal: http://www.fvap.gov/overseas-citizens/index.html.

If you are not registered to vote and you are currently abroad, follow the instructions below for registering for an absentee ballot.  The Federal Post Card Application will register you to vote and serve as an application to vote via absentee ballot.

Registering for an Absentee Ballot

You can register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot by using the Federal Post Card Application enclosed in this packet.  You can also download an application here:  http://www.fvap.gov. The FPCA is accepted by all States and Territories except American Samoa and Guam. Please find enclosed directions to help you fill out the FPCA.

You must send your completed FPCA (Federal Postcard Application) to the local election official in the county (or, in a few instances, city or town) where you last resided.  Your legal residency is most likely where you live while studying in the U.S. or your parents’ address.  You can find out the address of the local election official in your county when you will need to mail your FPCA here: http://www.fvap.gov/overseas-citizens/request-registration-absentee-ballot/index.html.

If you are not able to find the local election official in the county where you last resided you can call Federal Voting Assistance Program toll free from 64 different countries.  The numbers are listed here: http://www.fvap.gov/contact/toll-free-phone/index.html.  The United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands share one Toll-Free Number: 1-800-438-8683.

Filling out your FPCA can be confusing.  There are many websites available to assist you in filling out your FPCA. 

Please note that if you need to register in either Wisconsin or Maine, you may not be able to find the local election official’s address on this website and will need to call Federal Voting Assistance Program toll free number above.

Key Recommendations 

  • It is recommended that you fill out the FPCA before you leave the United States.  The will ensure that your local election officials have sufficient time to process your FPCA to send your absentee ballot at the earliest point possible (usually 30-45 days before the election). 
  • Please use your overseas housing mailing address as the address to have your absentee ballot sent to.  If you do not know your overseas housing mailing address, you may use the address of the Arcadia University overseas office in the country you are studying in.  Our staff will be happy to forward it to your local address in the country you are studying.  If you are unsure of this address, please contact your program manager.
  • When filling out your FPCA, if you did not vote in the state of your last residency, you must wrote “N/A” for not applicable on question #2.  If you leave this question blank, your FPCA will be rejected.
  • When filing our your FPCA, please note that you are a U.S. citizen temporarily residing outside the U.S. on question #8.   This is the determinate for receiving an absentee ballot.
  • You can mail your FPCA from outside the United States, but be sure to mail it via air mail with the correct postage.
  • Voter Registration Deadlines are different in each state.  Please refer to the state by state listing for special directions.  For more information refer to your state’s website:http://www.fvap.gov/overseas-citizens/request-registration-absentee-ballot/index.html
  • Also, you can contact the Arcadia University College of Global Studies, educationabroad@arcadia.edu.

Receiving your Absentee Ballot

If you have submitted your FPCA and do not receive an absentee ballot by October 1, 2008, you should visit http://www.fvap.gov/overseas-citizens/fed-write-in-absentee-ballot/index.html.  This service is only available to those who have submitted an FPCA. 

Mailing Your Absentee Ballot 
Americans do not actually vote at Embassies and Consulates when abroad. The electoral process is administered by individual states, and you will need to vote by mailing an absentee ballot to your local election official in your home state.

Your absentee ballot should come complete with instructions on how and where to mail it according to the standards of the local election official where you are registered.

Your Absentee Ballot may require notarization depending on the requirements the local election official where you are registered.  If this is the case, you can take it to the nearest U.S. Consulate in the country where you are studying to have it notarized.  Each consulate has a notary public.  If this is not possible, call the nearest consulate for alternative recommendations. 

The Federal Voting Assistance Program Recommends the following: 

Ten things to Help Ensure Your Absentee Ballot is Counted (http://www.fvap.gov/vao/topten.html)

  • Start by contacting your Unit/Embassy/Organization Voting Assistance Officer for help in absentee registration and voting.
  • Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website at www.fvap.gov for information on the absentee registration and voting process.
  • Ensure that you have applied for your absentee ballot using the hard copy or on-line versions of the FPCA.
  • Make sure your local election official has your current mailing address.
  • Sign and date all election materials.
  • Fulfill your state’s witness/notary requirements (if required).
  • Ensure that your ballot or FPCA is postmarked.
  • Register to vote and request your ballot in a timely manner – not later than September.
  • VOTE – mail your ballot not later than October 15, 2008.
  • Use the Federal Write In Absentee Ballot if you are overseas and your State absentee ballot does not arrive in time to be mailed back by the state’s deadline.

Guide to Voting Informational Websites on Parties and Candidates 

Democratic National Committee     
http://www.democrats.org/

Republican National Committee
http://www.rnc.org/

Green Party National Committee  
http://www.gp.org/   

Independent  
http://www.votenader.com

Libertarian Party     
http://www.lp.org/    

Congress
http://congress.org

League of Women Voters   
http://www.lwv.org/    

State Elections Site
http://www.fvap.gov/links/statelinks.html

Voter Registration Deadlines by State
More information can be found here: http://www.declareyourself.com/voting_faq/state_by_state_info_2.html


Alabama: 10 days before an election.

Alaska: 30 days before an election.

Arizona: 29 days before an election.

Arkansas: 30 days before an election.

California: 15 days before an election.

Colorado: 29 days before an election. If the application is received in the mail without a postmark, it must be received within 5 days of the close of registration.

Connecticut: 1 day before an election.

Delaware: 20 days prior to the general election and 21 days prior to any primary election.

D.C.: 30 days before an election.

Florida: 29 days before an election.

Georgia: The fifth Monday before a general primary, general election, or presidential preference primary. The fifth day after the date of the call for all other special primaries and special elections.

Hawaii: 30 days before an election

Idaho: 25 days before an election - mail; 24 days for in person; or election day at the polls.

Illinois: 28 days before primary; 28 days before a general election

Indiana: 29 days before an election

Iowa: Delivered by 5 pm 10 days before a state primary or general election; 11 days before all others. A postmark 15 or more days before an election is considered on time.

Kansas: Delivered 15 days before an election.

Kentucky: 29 days before an election.

Louisiana: 30 days before an election.

Maine: 10 business days before an election or delivered in person up to and including election day.

Maryland: 9 pm 21 days before the election.

Massachusetts: 20 days before an election.

Michigan: 30 days before an election.

Minnesota: 20 days before an election; also election day registration at polling places.

Mississippi: 30 days before an election.

Missouri: By 5:00pm on the fourth Wednesday prior to the election

Montana: 30 days before an election.

Nebraska: The third Friday preceding an election. Individuals may register in person at the county clerk/election commissioner's office prior to 6 p.m. on the second Friday preceding an election.

Nevada: 9pm on the fifth Sat. before any primary or general election. 9pm on the third Sat. before any recall or special election unless held on the same day as a primary or general election. Then it remains the fifth Saturday.

New Hampshire: Must be received by city or town clerk 10 days before an election; or regis at the polls on election day.

New Jersey: 21 days before an election.

New Mexico: 28 days before an election.

New York: 25 days before an election.

North Carolina: 25 days before an election.

North Dakota: Does not have voter registration.

Ohio: 30 days before an election.

Oklahoma: 25 days before an election.

Oregon: 21 days before an election. (There is no deadline for applications for change of name, change of address or to register with a party.)

Pennsylvania: 30 days before an election.

Rhode Island: 30 days before an election. *Check Saturday Hours

South Carolina: 30 days before an election.

South Dakota: Delivered 15 days before an election.

Tennessee: 30 days before an election.

Texas: 30 days before an election.

Utah: Postmark deadline-30 days before the election; Satellite Registration-you may register in person at a satellite registration site or at the County Clerk's office on the 15th and 18th day before the election.  

Vermont: Delivered to the town clerk before 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding the day of the election

Virginia: Delivered 29 days before an election.

Washington: 30 days before the election (or delivered in-person to the local voter registration office 15 days before the election)

West Virginia: 20 days before the election (or completed in the local voter registration office up to 5:00 pm. 1 day before the election, or completed at the polling place on election day)

Wisconsin: 13 days before an election; or completed in the local voter registration office 1 day before an election; or completed at the polling place on election day.

Wyoming: Wyoming by law, cannot accept this form unless State law is changed. You may register to vote at your polling place on election day.