How US Expats Can Vote Abroad

The right to vote remains for Americans living domestically in the United States or abroad. There is no difference! However, for the millions of Americans living in foreign countries the process may seem difficult or confusing. There are many reasons why Americans choose to live abroad but it’s important to always remember that voting is much easier than you think and it is worthwhile. Many Americans, because it seems difficult, skip the process entirely. In this post we will go over how you can vote as American living abroad because it matters. 

The Right To Vote

The American citizen that lives abroad has as much right to vote as citizens who live in the United States. The right is determined by citizenship, not residence. Perhaps you have had some questions about your ineligibility but you can vote regardless of:

  • Period of time living abroad
  • Your intention to ever return to the United States
  • The date of your last vote
  • If you have residence in the United States

It is important to find out whether your home state allows you to vote in local races so that you may participate in those elections. However, it might effect your state and federal tax liability. Voting for candidates for federal offices will not affect your state or federal tax liability.

How To Vote

The process to vote is fairly simple and just a few easy steps

The first step is to register to vote abroad.

This step is universal for Americans living abroad and domestically. You will need to be registered with local election officials. The state of your voting residence will most likely be the state in which you lived in last. You can also use the address linked to your driver’s license or state-issued ID to validate the state from which you are voting from. If you have never lived in the United States you could use the address from a citizen relative.

In addition, you must also request an absentee ballot. To register to vote and request a ballot you should use the Federal Post Card Application. Please make sure to submit your FPCA at least a month and a half to give officials time to process your request

Be sure to find the FPCA here on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.

If you missed your chance to submit a FPCA before the election then you have an alternative. The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is another option available on the website linked above.

When the FWAB arrives, fill it out and send it in.

Be sure to send in your ballot as quickly as possible. Here are some options you can consider to send in your completed ballot.

  • Online, fax or email. Submitting your ballot electronically will probably the most streamlined way to do so. However, find out more information on options available in your state.
  • Local mail with international postage
  • Courier Services such as DHL, UPS or FedEx. This will be the fastest option to turn in your ballot through a mail in service but it is more expensive.
  • US Embassy Diplomatic Pouch. Address the package to relevant election officials and US postage.

Once you’ve sent in your ballot your vote is cast!

No matter where you are in the world, your voice matters. Please be sure to cast your vote this upcoming election!

At America’s Tax Firm we can help guide you through this process further if you require more assistance. Get help today for all your tax needs!