Military personnel may apply for voter registration or request absentee ballots with a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) which may be obtained from the Unit Voting Officer or the Service or State Department Voting Action Officer. If an FPCA is not available, an FPCA may be downloaded from the internet. Refer to Federal Voting Assistance Program website for further form instructions.
Federal Postcard Application
If you are an overseas voter or are requesting an absentee ballot for an overseas voter, please use the Vote By Mail Request Form
Spouses and dependents are considered to be of the same category of absentee voter as military members and generally should follow the same rules.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates can assist in completing, witnessing, notarizing and mailing FPCA forms, absentee ballots, and other election materials. Federal portions of general election and presidential preference primary ballots voted by persons outside the U.S. are counted if postmarked no later than election day and received within 10 days of the election.
Where is my "legal voting residence?"
For voting purposes, your "legal voting residence" can be the state or territory where you last resided prior to entering military service or the state or territory that you have since claimed as your legal residence. To claim a new legal residence you must have simultaneous physical presence and the intent to return to that location as your primary residence. Military and family members may change their legal residence every time they change permanent duty stations or they may retain their legal residence without change. Family members may have a different legal voting residence from the member. A legal officer should be consulted before legal residence is changed because there are usually other factors that should be considered besides voting. Be sure to enter the complete address of your legal voting residence, including street or rural route and number, when completing the residence section of the FPCA. Even though you may no longer maintain formal ties such as property ownership to that residence, the address is needed to place you in a proper voting district, ward, precinct or parish.
Can I vote in person where I am stationed?
Military members may vote in the state or territory where stationed if they change their legal residence to that state or territory, even if they live on a military installation. Be advised that there are legal obligations that may be incurred, such as taxation, if you change your state or territory of residence. Therefore, consult a legal officer before making such a decision. At the present time, there are no provisions for personnel stationed outside the United States to vote, in person, where stationed.
My family members are not in the military; can they also vote absentee?
The law entitles eligible family members of military personnel to vote absentee. Family members are considered to be in the same category of absentee voter as military members and generally should follow the same procedures. Family members of military personnel residing overseas, who are U.S. citizens and who have never resided in the U.S. , usually claim a U. S. citizen parent's legal state of residence as their own.
Additional military election information is available from:
Director of Federal Voting Assistance Program
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Washington Headquarters Services
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington , D.C. 20301-1155
FVAP Fax (703) 588-0108
If I do not maintain a legal residence in the U.S. , what is my "legal state of residence?"
Your "legal state of residence" for voting purposes is the state or territory where you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the United States . This right extends to overseas citizens even though they may not have property or other ties in their last state or territory of residence and their intent to return to that state or territory may be uncertain. When completing the FPCA"s Voting Residence section, be sure to enter the entire mailing address of your last residence, including street or rural route and number. This information is necessary to place you in the proper voting district, ward, precinct or parish. Family members of citizens residing overseas, who are U.S. citizens and who have never resided in the U.S. , usually, if the state allows, claim one of their U.S. citizen parent's legal state or territory of residence as their own. Check Chapter 3 of the Guide.
Will I be taxed by my last state or territory of residence if I vote absentee?
Exercising your right to vote in elections for Federal offices only, does not affect the determination of residence or domicile for purposes of any tax imposed under Federal, state, or local law. Voting in an election for Federal office only, may not be used as the sole basis to determine residency for the purpose of imposing state and local taxes. If you claim a particular state or territory as your residence and have other ties with that state or territory in addition to voting, then you may be liable for state and local taxation, depending upon the laws of that particular state or territory. Consult the Guide or a legal advisor for information on probable tax obligations.
Can I register or vote in person at the embassy or consulate?
At the present time, there are no provisions for in-person voting or on-site registration to be conducted at U.S. embassies or consulates. U.S. embassy and consular officials will assist U.S. citizens in completing FPCA forms for their state, witness or notarize FPCA forms and ballots (if required), and provide other absentee voting information. U.S. embassy and consulate locations serve also as a mailing point. FPCA forms and other election materials may be mailed back, postage paid, to your local voting jurisdiction in the U.S. where absentee registration and ballot requests are processed.