01 Aug How to Vote in the U.S. Election While Traveling
We think being an engaged citizen is pretty important, so figuring out how to vote in national elections while abroad is a priority. Regardless of what side you fall on, if you’re a U.S. citizen 18 or older, we sincerely hope you’ll vote in the presidential election this Fall. If you happen to be traveling or living abroad come November, then now is a good time to plan ahead and make sure you’ll be able to vote!
Voting while abroad is not difficult but it does take a little planning ahead. We voted on several ballots, including the 2012 presidential election, while serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in Jamaica. We also plan to vote this year even though we’ll be somewhere in SE Asia when casting our ballots.
Early Voting for Short Vacation Travel
If you won’t be able to make it to the polls on election day because of a short trip, many States will allow you to vote in person ahead of time (this can be for any reason, including travel). Visit vote.org for more information on your State’s early voting period.
Absentee Ballots for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad or Traveling Long-Term
If you live overseas, you are eligible to vote abroad through the FVAP.gov. First, you do need to print, sign, and mail in a form to your local elections office where you’re registered in the U.S. Do this at least 30 days in advance of the general election. You’ll have an option to get an electronic ballot (online) or a blank paper ballot in the mail – voting procedures vary by State.
You can vote absentee if you are:
- an active duty member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine (or their spouse or eligible family member)
- a U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S.
Although we don’t have an international address, we consider ourselves to be “residing” outside of the U.S. long enough during election time to use this option.
Absentee ballots should arrive 30-45 days in advance, depending on the election. If you’re waiting for your ballot in the mail and it doesn’t arrive in time, use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.
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If you have any tips of your own for voting while traveling abroad, we invite you to share them in the comments below.
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