HOW TO REGISTER TO VOTE: See our Instructions for Voting in 2020
We have received inquiries from U.S. citizens about registering to vote in the U.S. elections being a requirement to receive the Coronavirus stimulus check from the internal Revenue Service (IRS). Please note that the IRS website https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center does NOT include registering to vote as one of the eligibility requirements to receive the payment.
CAN I VOTE AT THE EMBASSY?
The shipment deadline of September 23/28 to return your paper ballot to your local election officials via the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General in Thessaloniki has passed. The U.S. Embassy cannot guarantee timely delivery to the United States of ballots received after these dates. Ballots received will be accepted and continue to be forwarded to the United States but may arrive too late to be counted.
Consider returning your ballot to the United States via a commercial express courier service (such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL) or return your voted ballot by fax or electronically if allowed by your state. Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before November 3 prior to payment and shipment. Check your state’s voting procedures at www.FVAP.gov for guidance.
For further information please see our recent voting message to U.S. citizens in Greece at https://gr.usembassy.gov/dont-let-the-elections-pass-you-by-act-now/.
Ιf you still opt to mail your election materials through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General Thessaloniki, you may mail or drop off your completed and sealed voter registration form or ballot in a postage paid envelope (available for free on FVAP.gov) or with sufficient U.S. postage for delivery from the mail sorting facility to the election office in the following ways:
- Mail: U.S. Embassy Athens, American Citizen Services, 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue, 10160 Athens Greece
- Drop off at the U.S. Embassy in Athens: Kokali gate entrance vote box outside of security Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm on workdays
- Drop off at U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki: 43 Tismiski 7th Floor, Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm on workdays
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
General Voting Information for Every Year
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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: States are no longer required to automatically send ballots to voters for an entire election cycle so everyone who wants to vote in U.S. elections from overseas should send in a new Federal Post Card Application in January of each year.
For more information please visit the State Department Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad webpage. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How do I register and vote overseas?
You may follow the same straightforward process to obtain ballots for both federal and local elections. You need to submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to the voting officials in the appropriate state in the United States. Once they have received it and confirmed your registration, they will send you an absentee ballot by mail, e-mail, or fax. You can then fill out and return this ballot according to the instructions provided along with the ballot itself. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General in Thessaloniki do not supply state-specific ballots, nor can you vote there on Election Day. You can, however, deliver your Absentee Ballot or Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot to the Embassy or Consulate for mailing through the U.S. Postal Service at no cost. We encourage all citizens to use electronic options to submit your ballots when available, however, as this is the fastest and most secure way to ensure your vote is counted.
In which state should I vote?
You vote in the state where you have a “voting residence.” A voting residence is the legal residence or domicile in which you could vote if you were present in that state. The rules for determining that state depend on your status overseas.
- Overseas citizens (not affiliated with the U.S. Government) must vote in their last state of residence immediately prior to departure from the United States. This rule applies even if the voter no longer maintains a residence in that state or has any intention of returning to it.
- Military and Merchant Marine members, and their spouses and dependents, may register to vote in the state that the member claims as his or her residence.
- Civilian U.S. Government employees overseas, and their spouses and dependents, generally register in the state they claim as their legal residence.
- American citizens who have never resided in the United States should apply to the state where their American citizen parent(s) last resided, although they should be aware that not all states will grant such a request. Please refer to the state instructions.
What steps should I follow to register?
Take these three steps to register to vote abroad:
- To obtain an application, called a Federal Post Card Application, go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program
- complete it, and
- mail/electronically submit the application to your state.
Obtaining the Application. You may obtain a Federal Post Card Application in a number of different ways. You may print one from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website or the Overseas Vote Foundation website; pick one up at any of the various voter registration events that occur in Germany during an election year; email or fax a request to your state of residence, or contact your local consulate in Germany.
Completing the Application. The Federal Post Card Application form comes with its own set of general instructions. A good rule of thumb is to apply at least 45 days before the election to ensure that you get your materials in time to send them back before Election Day. Note also that many states will now send you your blank ballot via e-mail or fax, a service that significantly speeds up the process.
Mailing/Electronically Submitting the Application. After you have completed the Federal Post Card Application, address it to the appropriate city or county office found in the instructions.
If you choose to send the card through the Greek postal system, you must affix international postage. If you drop the card off at the Embassy or a Consulate, we can send it through the U.S. postal system at no cost. You can also submit your application electronically in all states. Please follow your state’s rules on electronic submission. Assistance for your state may be found on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.
When and how will I get my ballot?
When your local state officials receive your registration materials, they will register you and send you a ballot which you will fill out and return according to the instructions you are given. In some cases, local officials may need to contact you in order to confirm your prior residency in the state and your citizenship before they will send you a ballot. It is important to provide accurate contact information on the FPCA and to explain any unusual circumstances in the space provided.
Can I receive my ballot via email or fax?
Yes, many (but not all) states will now send you your blank ballot via e-mail or fax, a service that significantly speeds up the process. It depends on your state.
When does my ballot have to be back in my voting precinct?
Ballot receipt deadlines vary by state. Check the Federal Voting Assistance Program website or the Overseas Vote Foundation website for information about your state.
What if my ballot doesn't come on time?
If you have not received your ballot, and your postcard application was mailed in time to be received by your local election official 30 days prior to the election, you may be eligible to use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to vote for federal offices. This ballot may be used only for general elections and is an emergency backup for voters who expect to be able to use the regular absentee ballot but who did not receive that ballot in time to vote and return it. The federal write-in ballot must be received by the local election official no later than the deadline for receipt of regular absentee ballots under state law.
Where do I get a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot if I need one?
You may obtain a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot from your Embassy or Consulate, but the fastest way is on-line at the Federal Voting Assistance Program website or the Overseas Vote Foundation website. If you receive your state ballot after you have submitted the federal absentee ballot, you still must submit the state ballot. The state ballot, not the federal absentee ballot, will then be counted.
What is the difference between a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)?
The Federal Post Card Application is the form you use to register to vote. You send this form to your state, county, or precinct so that officials know you are a voter there.
The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot is the emergency backup voting ballot for those individuals who did not receive their regular ballot in time to vote and return it.
Can I submit my ballot at the Embassy?
While you cannot “vote” at the Embassy, you can submit your sealed, completed voter registration form or ballot to be mailed back to a mail sorting facility in the United States free of charge. You must use a postage paid envelope (available for free on FVAP.gov) or an envelope with sufficient postage for delivery from the U.S. mail sorting facility to the proper location election authorities. Stamps are not available for sale at the embassy or consulate, but postage can be purchased through U.S. Postal Service “Click and Ship”. It is faster to submit your election materials electronically, and we encourage voters to take advantage of this opportunity if your state allows it. If you would like to mail your ballot through the Greek post, please ensure it has enough postage for international delivery.
Due to unexpected or unpredictable pouch and USPS delivery time and different state deadlines, ballots should be delivered to the Embassy mail room no later than Monday, September 28. In order to mail your election material through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General Thessaloniki, you may mail or drop off your completed and sealed ballot in a postage paid envelope or with sufficient U.S. postage for delivery from the mail sorting facility to the election office in the following ways:
- Mail: U.S. Embassy Athens, American Citizen Services, 91 Vasilisis Sophias Avenue, 10160 Athens Greece
- Drop off at the U.S. Embassy in Athens: Kokali gate entrance voting box outside of security Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
- Drop off at U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki: 43 Tisimiski, 7th Floor, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
How do I contact the Embassy if I have other questions?
When is the next election?
Presidential and state primary election dates vary by state, but the next general election is November 3, 2020. For specific presidential and state primary dates click on the following link: https://www.fvap.gov/guide/appendix/state-elections