Be an Active Voter by participating in Absentee Voting Week and taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections!
DHAKA, SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 – This year, Absentee Voting Week in the United States is September 27-October 4. In some U.S. states, voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2020 elections are as early as October 5th. Whether you are a first-time U.S. voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, U.S. Embassy Dhaka recommends you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) each year to ensure you are able to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.
If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon, if you have not already received it. If you requested your ballot but haven’t received it, or if you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot, contact your local election office as soon as possible.
You can get voting assistance from the U.S. Embassy, Dhaka. Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you return your ballot by mail, you can use the drop box located at the Madani Avenue entry gate in the booth for the guards. Ballots can be dropped off only during working hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday except for Embassy-observed holidays). Transit time may take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent via the Embassy.
If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy – just follow these steps:
- Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.
The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. No matter which state you vote in, 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). Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.
- Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
If you plan to use the U.S. Embassy to mail in your FPCA, please use the drop box located at the Madani Avenue entry gate in the booth for the guards, during working hours (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday except for Embassy-observed holidays). You can also send your FPCA directly to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
- Receive Your Ballot
After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before a federal election (September 19) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.
- Return Your Ballot No Later than October 2nd
We recommend that if you plan to return your paper ballot to your election officials via the U.S. Embassy, please drop it off by October 2, or earlier, to account for transit times between overseas and local U.S. voting districts. If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a postage-paid envelope or envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. You can download the postage paid envelope from the FVAP.gov website.
If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot too. Only one will be counted. Use the online assistant at FVAP.gov to complete the FWAB. The online assistant uses your state’s requirements as you go through the process of completing the FWAB. Complete it, print it, sign it, and send it in. See the FVAP.gov website for more details.
Your Vote Counts
Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. All states are required to count every absentee ballot if it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline (differs by state).
Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online and search the Internet to locate articles and information.
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact our website at https://bd.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/voting/ or contact U.S. Embassy Dhaka’s Voting Assistance Officer at (880) (2) 5566-2000, or at VoteDhaka@state.gov