How Do I Vote in the US Presidential Election if I Am Traveling Overseas on Election Day?

15 thoughts on “How Do I Vote in the US Presidential Election if I Am Traveling Overseas on Election Day?”

  1. in your search did you find out how long you have to live in a state before you are allowed to vote? thanks for all the good info!

    1. You’re welcome!

      I found this FAQ about people who’ve recently moved from the US Election Assistance Commission. It looks like you will have to research the state you moved into for specifics, but it looks like most states accept the National Mail Voter Registration Form, which of course you have to send to the state or local election office to be processed (the state you moved to). And it’s probably a good idea to tell the state you left that you are no longer there… on the National Mail Voter Registration Form instructions, it says, “You cannot be registered to vote in more than one place at a time.”

      I hope this new information is helpful!

    1. Thank you, Jessica! I love to hear that! November doesn’t seem that close, but it is when you factor all the processing time and time to mail something as important as a ballot back and forth….!

      Looking forward to reading more of your adventures 🙂

  2. Thanks, Sarahlynn, this is an excellent summary of the issue, for sure!

    I would recommend that people definitely not just download the PDF Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) or Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) and attempt to complete these documents on their own.

    As you say, the states manage all voting processes. And that includes the information that is required on the form! So do use the online assistant at the Federal Voting Assistance Program, which is THE authority on all things election-related for American citizens abroad. This will ensure that the FPCA and FWAB are completely correct for your voting residence state.

    Because incorrectly completed forms mean you’ll be disenfranchised just as surely as if you didn’t file a form at all!

    The voting assistants at the Union of Overseas Voters have over 40 years experience helping U.S. expats vote. Don’t hesitate to contact us for information and assistance!

    Happy voting!
    Tony Paschall
    Founder & chair
    Union of Overseas Voters
    Paris, France

    1. Hello, Tony! Thank you for reading and reaching out with some more useful information! I don’t remember the Federal Voting Assistance Program having this cool online assistant, guess they probably turned it on recently… Looks pretty easy to register to vote and request/get/track a ballot!

      GO HERE FOLKS — FVAP online assistant:

      Thanks, Tony!!

      1. You’re most welcome, Sarahlynn.

        Again, you’ve done a great job here!

        The FVAP is constantly upgrading their services, so there are lots of cool things available on their site. It’s definitely the one-stop shop for voting for uniformed service members and overseas citizens.

        All the best,

  3. I recently relocated from California to Nevada and I am having a WHALE of a time just trying to find out how I can vote! Neither Secretary of States offices will give me a clear answer. I have not been in Nevada long enough to get a state-issued drivers license yet Iwill not be in California on November 6th. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ebony, thanks for reading and sorry to hear of your troubles voting! I am reading a lot about voting requirements changing in certain states and folks complaining (rightly so) of disenfranchisement!

      First I would try calling any local municipality – your town, your county government where you currently reside to see if other forms of ID will suffice, like a renter’s contract or electricity bill with your name and address on it. The regional/local govt’s are likely less swamped than the folk at the state level, and even if you need to visit their office, it will be easier for you. Depending on what you find out, you can work to register yourself in Nevada and make sure you get a paper confirmation of it. Once that’s done, call up the local government where you used to live in CA to tell them to take you off the voter roll.

      If that line doesn’t work well for you or if that sounds like too much hassle – and this is just a guess, not having actually read either state’s voter requirements – you might want to absentee vote in the district in Nevada where you are currently registered since it’s already early October. Deadlines can vary greatly.

      I hope this is helpful, Ebony!

  4. 6 months ago I posted this to assist fellow travelers and expats to vote in this election. It’s been one of my most visited blog posts and I hope it’s helped at least one more person to vote. Today it’s largely up to our compatriots at home to do their duty, too. VOTE.

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