Overseas Citizens Get to Celebrate Their Right to Vote

By Federal Voting Assistance Program, Special for  USDR

On July 4, millions of overseas citizens, Service members and their families will celebrate U.S. Independence Day — all over the world. Among the many freedoms citizens enjoy is the right to vote from wherever they  are.

During this election year, Americans living away from their voting residence can easily make absentee voting part of their Fourth of July festivities — with resources from the Federal Voting Assistance Program  (FVAP).

“Registering and requesting a ballot is a great way for Service members and overseas citizens to celebrate July 4th,” FVAP Director Matt Boehmer said. “The holiday is a perfect reminder that Americans anywhere have the freedom to vote, and FVAP.gov has everything they need to do  so.”

From June 27 to July 5, FVAP will observe the holiday by holding Armed Forces Voters Week and Overseas Citizens Voters Week with support from the Military Services and State Department. During the week, U.S. military installations, embassies, consulates and overseas citizens groups offer voter registration opportunities as part of holiday celebrations. FVAP recommends voters register to vote and request an absentee ballot by Aug. 1 to ensure they can participate in the General Election on Nov.  8.

The voting rights of the millions of U.S. citizens living overseas, as well as Service members and their eligible family, are protected by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). About 75 percent of the 1.3 million Service members are eligible to vote absentee through the UOCAVA process since they are stationed away from their voting residence and polling  place.

The first step for overseas citizens and Service members to vote absentee is filling out and sending in a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) — the registration and ballot request form accepted by all states and territories — available at FVAP.gov. The sooner voters register and request their ballot, the greater the likelihood they can successfully vote. That’s because ballots must be sent back before individual state deadlines, which  vary.

Voters can visit FVAP.gov for their state’s specific voter registration and ballot request deadlines, as well as information on completing their FPCA. Voters can fill out the form by hand or use the online assistant before they print, sign and send the FPCA to their election  office.

SOURCE Federal Voting Assistance  Program

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