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What if the ballot I requested doesn’t arrive on time?

Another wonderful feature of the overseas voting program is that if for any reason a voter does not receive the ballot they requested in time to vote, it is possible to use an emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB is available on the U.S. Vote Foundation website. You can complete the cover page online, then download the ballot with instructions and the return address.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Write-in Candidates

  • You will need to look up and write in the names of your chosen candidates. You can do that with the Sample Ballot Tool available on the U.S. Vote Foundation website.

If Your Ballot Arrives After You Submit the FWAB

  • If you send in the FWAB and your absentee ballot arrives afterward, you should vote and return that as well. This is common practice. Your election official knows to count the absentee ballot and disregard your FWAB in the event that they both arrive in time.

Before you Use the FWAB Emergency Ballot

  • The FWAB is a very basic substitute for your real ballot and should be your ballot of last resort.

  • Before jumping to use the FWAB, contact your election office to see if they sent your absentee ballot to you. 

  • If your election office sent your ballot, but you did not receive it, and if there is still time, ask if they can void the first ballot and send you a replacement ballot. That will always be preferable to the FWAB.

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U.S. Vote Foundation offers complete voter services to all voter types including voters abroad and uniformed services voters and their families.

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