Now more than ever it is important to vote. As expats we are prone to the World’s scrutiny and judgement of the leaders we have in the United States from others where we live and when we travel. We must have a diplomatic, respected leader in the White House to maintain the security of the United States, and especially the American citizens who chose to live and travel in other parts of the world.
Last week I received this email and quickly requested my absentee ballot. It is very easy to do online and it took me less than 20 minutes to complete the form electronically, print it out, sign it and scan and email to the proper authority. The deadline is February 26th, so act now!
VOTING IN 2016 U.S. ELECTIONS
January 21, 2016
Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for house and senate have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2016 U.S. elections:
1. Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You must complete a new FPCA after January 1, 2016 to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2016 elections. The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. 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). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.
2. Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.
3. Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address them to the relevant local election officials.
If it’s more convenient for you, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain on-line. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (email@example.com). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebookand Twitter.
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov.
The Voting Assistance Officers at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and the Consulates General in Florence, Milan and Naples are available to answer questions about absentee voting.
To contact the Voting Assistance Officers, call the Consular Section nearest you or send an e-mail to:
· USCitizensRome@state.gov for the Consular District of Rome,
· USCitizensMilan@state.gov for the Consular District of Milan,
· USCitizensNaples@state.gov for the Consular District of Naples and
· USCitizensFlorence@state.gov for the Consular District of Florence.
Remember, your vote counts!