Voting by Absentee Ballot from Mexico
All U.S. citizens can receive their blank ballots electronically. Depending on the state in which you are eligible to vote, you can get your ballot by email, fax, or the Internet. To start, go to the FVAP website to complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), print and sign the document, then return it to your local election office in the United States. We recommend U.S. citizens living abroad complete the FPCAs each January. If you request electronic delivery and include your email address or fax number, you will receive your blank ballot 45 days before general and mid-term elections and generally 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many states offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot.
States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle. Therefore, everyone who wants to vote in U.S. elections from overseas should send in a new FPCA in January of each year.
How U.S. Citizens Abroad Vote:
First-time voters and those who will turn 18 on or before November 3, may use the FPCA to vote by absentee ballot from abroad. The FPCA is your official U.S. ballot request. In order to be prepared to vote and receive your official absentee ballot, we suggest that you register using this form as soon as possible. It takes only a few quick steps to make sure your vote is counted no matter where you are in the world.
What the Embassy Can Do:
Voting Assistance Officers are here to answer all your voting questions as well as provide voting forms, materials, and guidance. If you have questions, or would like to receive voting materials in Mexico, please write to one of the email addresses below:
Contacting the Federal Voting Assistance Program:
If you would like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process, please visit https://www.fvap.gov, call 001-800-438-8683 (toll-free, direct dial from Mexico), or email email@example.com.
Embassy Updates Due to COVID-19:
The Embassy in Mexico City is currently operating with limited emergency services only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Embassy is not accepting absentee ballots in person. You can return your ballot to your local election office in various ways, depending on your state’s requirements, including local courier services, diplomatic pouch mail forwarded by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, fax, email, or online.
If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so directly through international mail or professional courier service, or by mailing to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for forwarding to the United States via diplomatic pouch. The diplomatic pouch provides free mail service from Embassies and Consulates to a U.S. sorting facility for voting materials. Please note that it can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent by the Embassy or a Consulate.
Election updates due to COVID-19:
To learn more about election updates in your state please go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program for COVID-19 related information at: https://www.fvap.gov/covid-19.
Remember, every vote counts!
Absentee Voting Basics
Absentee voting is a simple two step process. Every year, send a completed FPCA to your local election officials. They confirm your eligibility to vote and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots for any elections held that calendar year. They send you a blank absentee ballot electronically or by mail. Then, you complete the ballot and return it before your state’s deadline. If you haven’t received your blank ballot 30 days before an election, don’t wait any longer, use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote.
Registration/Absentee Ballot Request
To vote from abroad, you must register to vote with local election officials in your state of residence. Every year, you must request absentee ballots. You can use one form to do both: the FPCA. Submit a new FPCA in January of each year, every time you move, change your address, change your email, or change your name.
You can always return your FPCA by mail. In addition, many states allow you to return your FPCA by fax or email. Consult the online FVAP Voting Assistance Guide for your state’s current instructions. If you need help completing or submitting the form, contact the voting assistance officer using the contact information above.
Receiving your Blank Absentee Ballot
Forty-five days before the November general elections, your state will either send your blank ballot to you electronically or mail it to the address you provided on your FPCA.
Ballots are generally mailed out only 30 days before primary, special, and run-off elections. Depending on your state and your status abroad, you may receive absentee ballots for all elections or abbreviated ballots for elections for federal offices only.
Voting and Returning Your Ballot
Complete your ballot carefully and legibly and return it to your local election officials before your state’s ballot receipt deadline. Send it back as early as possible.
Overseas voters have several options for returning completed ballots:
- Local mail – If you have access to reliable mail service to the United States, put your ballot in the mail with appropriate international postage.
- U.S. Embassy Pouch/APO/FPO – You can mail your ballot request or voted ballot to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for return to the United States. It must be addressed to your local election officials and have sufficient postage or be in a postage-paid envelope. A postage-paid envelope is available on the FVAP website.
- Fax, Email, or Internet – Several states now allow the electronic return of voted ballots. Consult the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide for electronic transmission options for your state.
- Express Courier Service – If time is short or local mail is unreliable, you can use professional courier services such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS.
Using an Emergency Write-In Ballot
If you have not received your ballot 30 days before the election, you should complete and submit a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Contact the Embassy or your nearest Consulate for assistance, or visit FVAP.gov to complete the FWAB using their online wizard. Write in the candidates of your choice, print it, sign it, and send it to your local election officials. If your regular absentee ballot arrives later, fill it out and send it back too. Your FWAB will be counted only if your regular ballot does not reach your local election officials by your state’s deadline. Following this procedure will not invalidate your vote or result in two votes being cast.
Almost all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who reside outside the United States are eligible to vote absentee for candidates for federal offices in U.S. primary and general elections. In addition, some states allow overseas citizens to vote for candidates for state and local offices, as well as for state and local referendums. For information regarding your specific state, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide or the Overseas Vote Foundation website. The Overseas Vote Foundation is a non-partisan voter advocacy organization.
For voting purposes, your state of legal residence is generally the state where you resided immediately before leaving the United States, even if you no longer own or rent property or intend to return there in the future. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia specifically allow U.S. citizens who have never resided in the United States to register where a parent would be eligible to vote. Direct your questions about eligibility to your local election officials.
Role of Local Election Officials
All elections in the United States are run at the state and local level. If local election officials have questions about your form, they will contact you. We recommend you return your form at the beginning of the calendar year, or at least forty-five days before the election to provide time for voting officials to process your request and resolve any problems. Once approved, your name will be put on a list of voters to receive absentee ballots.
Verifying Your Registration
Most states now have websites where you can verify your registration. If you are unsure of your voter registration status, or want to confirm that local officials have received and approved your registration, check the FVAP website for a directory of state voter registration verification websites. You can also write, email, or call your local election officials directly.
Be an Educated Voter
Voting and Taxes
Voting for candidates for federal offices does not affect your federal or state tax liability. Voting for candidates for state or local offices could affect your state tax liability. Consult legal counsel if you have questions.