There are many beneficial features that are unique to the U.S. overseas voting program:
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) mandates that all states must allow overseas civilians and uniformed services members to register and request an absentee ballot for federal elections, using the same form across all states. The uniformity of the application process creates an ease of understanding not found when voting by absentee ballot from within the United States.
ONLY BY USING THIS SPECIFIC FORM WILL YOU BE PROTECTED BY THE UOCAVA VOTING LAW.
A special feature of the official form, historically called the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), is that it has a dual purpose. The form will serve to simultaneously register you to vote from abroad and request your overseas absentee ballot. The form must be submitted once per calendar year, as well as whenever you change your address.
Complete the Overseas Voter Registration / Absentee Ballot Request Form (FPCA)
Most states, with some exceptions, allow voters to sign, scan and return their Registration and Ballot Request form/FPCA by email to their election office. That can be very convenient, especially as form filing deadlines approach.
UOCAVA also mandates that all states must provide your ballot according to your wishes, either online or on paper. Be aware, that online ballots must be printed. If you are in a region of the world where the postal system is reliable, it may be easier for you to receive your ballot, already printed, by postal mail, together with a return envelope.
If you plan ahead and send in your Registration and Ballot Request form/FPCA early, you’ll have plenty of time to vote. Overseas absentee ballots begin going out to voters who requested them as of 45 days before the election.
Every state allows you to return your voted ballot by overseas postal mail. U.S. Vote Foundation and Overseas Vote recommend postal mail as the most secure and confidential method of ballot return. Mail your ballot from the post office to assure correct postage. Your ballot envelope must have an overseas postmark. (Do not give your overseas ballot to a friend to drop into the US mail system!)
Many states also allow you to return your ballot online*, by fax or email. You can look up your state’s Voter Materials Transmission Options to see all of your options.
*Keep in Mind – Overseas Voting is not 100% Online
There is no 100% online, real-time internet voting in any state. If you choose to receive your ballot online, you will be required to print it. All ballots must be completed on paper, even if they are then scanned and returned online. For that reason, if you have a reliable postal system, a paper ballot, already printed, together with a return envelope, may be easier for you.