Message to U.S. Citizens: Steps to vote Overseas in the 2020 U.S. Elections

July 2, 2020

Location: Guatemala

Event: July 4th Voting Message

Celebrate democracy this 4th of July by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections!

In order to vote in the November 2020 elections, all overseas U.S. citizens need to have completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020.  Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete an FPCA each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.  

If you would like to celebrate the 4th of July holiday by completing a Federal Post Card Application, please continue reading below for more information.

Registering to Vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world! Follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:

1.    Register to vote:  Start by confirming your voter registration with your state.  Some states require absentee voters to register annually, so you may need to re-register.  Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more.

2.    Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). 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), including primaries and special elections, during the calendar year in which it is submitted.  FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory.  FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.  

Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available.  This is the fastest way to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline. 

3.    Receive and Complete Your Ballot:  States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office, and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections.  Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.

4.    Returning Your Completed, Signed Ballot:  Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy Guatemala City’s Diplomatic Post Office (DPO).  The diplomatic pouch or postal service provides free mail service from embassies and consulates to a U.S. sorting facility (for voting purposes only).  You will need to place your 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.

If using the DPO, voting material can be dropped off at the screening booth of the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City, located at the corner of 7 Street “A” and 1 Avenue in Zone 10.  The hours of acceptance are from 07:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday.  DPO transit time from Guatemala to the United States is approximately four weeks.  We advise all overseas U.S. citizens to submit their forms and ballots accordingly. 

Guidance for American Citizens: The United States Embassy in Guatemala urges that all U.S. citizens who plan to present their ballot for DPO mail comply with the restrictions imposed by the complete closure of the country, as well as all other restrictions and regulations imposed during the state of calamity.  These include the mandatory use of masks in public, respecting the curfew, and the restrictions on departmental and inter-departmental movements.  U.S. citizens should also be aware that given the fluid nature of the ongoing Guatemalan government movement restrictions, the DPO may close unexpectedly, and the hours, and location, to drop off completed ballots may change.

Learn more about voting and ballots 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 Guatemala’s Voting Assistance Officer via amcitsguatemala@state.gov.

Remember, your vote counts!

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Guatemala City

https://gt.usembassy.gov/
Tel. (502) 2326-4000
Amcitsguatemala@state.gov

State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444

Guatemala Country Information and Travel Advisory Page

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