If you plan to vote in the November 2020 election it is important to ACT NOW! Don’t wait, return your voted ballot right away! Remember U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States – but you can get assistance in requesting and returning your absentee ballot. Many states require voted ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 3.
The Department of State is committed to assisting overseas voters in casting their ballots. For instructions on how to vote from Australia see our website. For general overseas voting information please see the Department of State’s web site Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad or FVAP.gov.
Never received your ballot? If you registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot prior to your state’s registration deadline, but have not yet received your ballot, complete and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to ensure your vote reaches election officials by your state’s deadline. If your regular ballot arrives later, complete and return it as well. Your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot will only be counted if your regular ballot does not reach local election officials by your state’s deadline. Your vote will not be counted twice.
RETURNING YOUR BALLOT:
Note that the U.S. Postal Service recommends voters mail their completed ballots before Election Day and at least one week prior to your state’s deadline. To allow processing time between Department of State and U.S. Postal Service systems this means ballots must be received at the Embassy or Consulates no later than October 2, 2020. Ballots received after that date will be forwarded, but may arrive too late to be counted. Please also check the regulations in the state in which you vote as deadlines may differ, and you may have alternative voting options such as electronic voting or by fax.
The above timeline is based on current local and U.S. conditions, which are subject to change. Should conditions change and impact the timeline we will alert you. We strongly recommend you submit your ballot as far in advance as possible. For a complete list of election dates in your state, please refer to the following link: https://www.fvap.gov/guide/appendix/state-elections.
If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a U.S. postage-paid envelope (provided with the ballot) or an envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials. The U.S. Embassy in Canberra and U.S. Consulates in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth are now accepting ballots without the need for an appointment at the hours indicated below:
(**NOTE: This message was issued in September 2020, and ballot drop-off times may have changed. Please check the current drop-off times before attending a Consulate or the Embassy**)
- U.S. Consulate General, Sydney – between 1:00pm and 3:00pm
- U.S. Consulate General, Melbourne – from 8:30am – 12:00pm, and 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Monday through Friday
- U.S. Consulate General, Perth – between 8:30am and 2:00pm
- U.S. Embassy, Canberra – between 9:00am and 4:00pm
Please check our list of public holiday closures for each location before attending with your ballot.
Missed the U.S. Embassy/Consulate shipment deadline? Consider returning your ballot to the United States via AusPost express service, or a commercial express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL, or return your voted ballot 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.
Returning your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot by email or fax. Review your state’s voting procedures at www.FVAP.gov carefully for guidance. All states are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
Returning your ballot by international mail delivery. If using Australia’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery. Ballots sent via regular international mail from most countries at this late date are unlikely to reach local election officials by state ballot receipt deadlines, so you may need to consider another method.
HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING. Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot. Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).
Need help or have questions? Please check the U.S. Citizen Services Voting webpage, or contact your Voting Assistance Officer by email at the U.S. Consulate serving your area:
- New South Wales, Queensland and ACT
- Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Territory
- Western Australia
You can also contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program directly if you encounter issues with local election officials by emailing Vote@FVAP.gov or toll free by phone from many countries around the world.
Confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website at www.FVAP.gov.
Remember, your vote counts!