By Melissa Aaserud, US Embassy in Norway
Overseas citizens, active duty military members, and their families are encouraged to register and request their ballot as soon as possible to avoid potential mail delays or other disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic response. The Federal Voting Assistance Program, (FVAP), recommends military and overseas voters use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at FVAP.gov to register to vote and request an absentee ballot as soon as possible to ensure they can participate in the General Election on Nov. 3. The FPCA not only allows these voters to register and request an absentee ballot simultaneously, it also guarantees certain benefits under federal law.
“Using the FPCA ensures that ballots for Service members, their families and overseas citizens will be sent out 45 days before the election, with an option to receive their ballot electronically,” FVAP Director David Beirne said. “This can be particularly helpful this year when mail delays are possible. Using the FPCA also grants voters the ability to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as a backup ballot, if needed.”
Voters can visit FVAP.gov for their state’s specific voter registration and ballot request deadlines, as well as information on completing their FPCA, which is accepted by all states and territories. 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.
The voting rights of an estimated 9 million 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.
Register today! Go to FVAP.gov and follow the easy instructions and watch the tutorial video. If you need further assistance, contact the American Citizen Services Section’s Voting Assistance Officer at mailto: VoteOslo@state.gov.