The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act covers all members of the Uniformed Services and their families, as well as U.S. citizens who reside overseas, and assists them in exercising their right to vote. All overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.
If you would like to drop off your completed FPCA or ballot for delivery to the United States via diplomatic pouch free of charge, please deposit your sealed envelope containing your FPCA or ballot in the mailbox located outside the Consular Entrance to Embassy Bishkek.
In order for U.S. Embassy Bishkek to forward your ballot, you will need to place your FPCA or ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage, in order for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. sorting facility. Ballots that do not have sufficient U.S. postage or a pre-paid label/envelope will not be placed into the diplomatic pouch and will not be forwarded to local election authorities. It can take up to 4-6 weeks for mail to reach local voting officials if sent from Kyrgyzstan via diplomatic pouch. You may want to consider using a courier service if submitting your ballot close to or after the stated delivery time for pouch mail.
The following are the easy steps to follow to register and vote in U.S. elections:
- Register to vote.Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.
- Request Your Ballot. Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. 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. FVAP’s easy online assistantcan assist you with completing the FPCA. Check if you have the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available.
- Receive and Complete Your Ballot.
- Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically. You may check your state’s requirements and deadlines on FVAP.gov. The map below is the current methods that you may submit your absentee ballot for the ongoing primaries and upcoming General Election.
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Bishkek’s Voting Assistance Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Helpful links:
- About the Absentee Voting Process for U.S. Citizens Abroad
- Download your FPCA today(PDF 321 KB)
- Downloadable Election Materials
- State and Territories Election and Voter Verification websites
Do I have to be registered to vote absentee?
Registration requirements vary from State to State. Most States require you to complete an absentee ballot application to start the absentee voting process. FVAP encourages the use of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to start the absentee voting process as it is standardized for use across all States and territories and will extend your eligibility to receive a ballot for all federal elections in which you are eligible, based on State-specific guidelines. The FPCA acts as both a registration and absentee ballot request form.
Where do I send my Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot Request?
Your request form must be completed, printed, signed, dated and sent directly to your election official. Some States allow you to fax or email your FPCA to your election office. Your election official is required to contact you if your form is rejected, but States differ in notifying voters of a successful application. We encourage you to contact your election official to confirm that your FPCA was successfully processed.
When mailing election materials to my state or territory, do I have to pay postage?
The form is postage paid in U.S. mail, to include APO/FPO and diplomatic pouches. If using an online version, a postage paid envelope template can be downloaded online at FVAP.gov, which can then be brought to the Embassy for mailing to the U.S. free of charge.
If using foreign postal systems, put the correct amount of local postage on the front of the envelope, in the top right corner.
What is a postmark?
A postmark is an official Postal Service imprint applied on the address side of a stamped piece of mail. A postmark indicates the location and date the Postal Service accepted a piece of mail.
When is the best time to apply for an absentee ballot?
To ensure you continue to receive absentee ballots during your time away from your voting residence, be sure to submit a new FPCA every January and each time you change your address and at least 90 days prior to the election you want to vote in.
Must I submit a separate application for each election?
Under federal law, the FPCA (standard form SF 76) registers you to vote and requests absentee ballots for a minimum of all federal elections in the current calendar year. To ensure you continue to receive absentee ballots during your time away from your voting residence, be sure to submit a new FPCA every January and each time you change your address and at least 90 days prior to the election you want to vote in.
When should I receive my ballot?
Election officials are required to send your absentee ballot 45 days before an election for those who are registered and have requested a ballot. If you submit your FPCA within 45 days of the election, they will send your ballot as soon as possible, upon processing your form.
What happens if I do not receive a ballot from my local election office?
If you do not receive your absentee ballot from your State in time to return it to your election official to participate in the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB (SF 186) serves as a backup ballot for UOCAVA citizens. The FWAB can be used in all States to vote for federal offices (President/Vice President, U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative and Delegate or Resident Commissioner). If you receive your State absentee ballot after submitting the FWAB, vote and return it as well. If both your State ballot and your FWAB are received by the deadline, only one will be counted.
Questions for Overseas Citizens
Can I vote absentee?
As a U.S. citizen residing overseas, your absentee voting rights are covered. This means if you live outside your voting residence you can vote absentee in all federal elections.
A growing number of States now allow U.S. citizens who were born abroad but never resided in the U.S. to vote using the address where a parent or other relative is eligible to vote. Visit FVAP.gov to see a current list of States that allow these U.S. citizens to vote.
If I do not maintain a legal residence in the U.S., what is my “legal state of residence”?
Your legal State of residence is your address in the State in which you were last domiciled, immediately prior to leaving the United States.
This residence may remain valid even if:
You no longer own property or have other ties to that State.
Your intent to return to that State is uncertain.
Your previous address is no longer a recognized residential address.
How do I register to vote, or apply for an absentee ballot?
Registration requirements vary from State to State. FVAP encourages the use of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to start the absentee voting process as it is standardized for use across all States and territories and will extend your eligibility to receive a ballot for all federal elections in which you are eligible based on State- specific guidelines. The FPCA acts as both a registration and absentee ballot request form.
Can I register or vote in-person at the embassy or consulate?
No – U.S. elections are run at the State level and citizens must communicate directly with their election official to register, request a ballot and vote. Voting Assistance is available at most embassies and consulates to help in the completion of necessary forms. Be sure to account for submission and mail delivery time to ensure your forms are received by the State deadline.