Voting While Abroad

Steps to Overseas Voting

Studying abroad, but want to vote in an election back in the States? Follow these steps to let your voice be heard!

Step 1: Register to vote in your state of permanent residency or home university if you are not already registered. Information on how you can register to vote.

  • Each state has its own voting requirements and deadlines to request a ballot. Check your state of voter registration to view that information.

Step 2: Request an absentee ballot be sent to you while abroad for the upcoming election. You can use either this non-partisan website or this one to request your absentee ballot while abroad. Select "U.S. Citizen Residing Outside the U.S. Temporarily and I Intend to Return" and then complete the rest of the form.

Step 3: If you need to enter your international mailing address to receive your ballot and do not have your address yet, you can either A) wait until you arrive abroad and complete the absentee ballot request as long as the date to request the absentee ballot has not passed or B) contact your program/ host university before you depart and see if they can provide a mailing address that you can use.

Step 4: Once you request your absentee ballot, you will be given instructions on how to fill out the ballot abroad and return it.

Step 5: Election offices are required to send requested ballots to overseas voters at least 45 days before the election (for 2020, that's September 19th). If you don’t receive your ballot by that deadline, contact your local election official and complete the backup Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. If both the backup ballot and the official ballot are received by election day, only the official ballot will count; your vote will not be counted twice.


US Department of State's Absentee Voting Information for US Citizens Abroad 

Military Postal Service Agency's recommended mailing dates

Non-partisan sample ballot lookup