This year’s raucous presidential race is garnering global attention as it dominates headlines and stirs passionate debate in the U.S. and other parts of the world. If you’re an American expatriate and you want to have a say in who becomes our 45th president, it’s important to remember that being abroad doesn’t exclude you from voting for the candidate of your choice.
As a U.S. citizen, you have the right to participate in the election as an absentee voter, and it doesn’t take a lot of extra work to cast your ballot while overseas. The clock is ticking, however, with just three months until Election Day on Nov. 8, so there’s no time like the present to make sure you have everything in order.
Following is a brief guide on the steps to follow when voting via absentee ballot:
Complete your ballot. When your absentee ballot arrives, fill it out and send it to your state’s election office. Make sure you sign the enclosed affidavit or envelope as required by your state. For this year’s presidential election, be sure to send your ballot back by Oct. 15.
You should note that election officials are required to send your absentee ballot 45 days before an election. If for some reason you do not receive your absentee ballot from your state in time to return it to your election official to participate in the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB serves as a backup that can be used in all states for voting in federal elections.
If you receive your state absentee ballot after submitting the FWAB, vote and return it as well. If both your state ballot and your FWAB are received by the deadline, only one will be counted.
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