Message for U.S. Citizens: Voting in the 2020 Election

August 6, 2020

The November 2020 U.S. elections are right around the corner and U.S. Citizens can and should vote from abroad. Your vote counts! Did you know recent elections have been decided by a margin of less than 0.1%? The U.S. Embassy is here to help you exercise your right to vote and answer your voting questions.

Voting from abroad is a three-step process that needs to be started early.

Step 1:  Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. All FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.

Pro Tip: You can use FVAP’s easy online assistant to walk you through the FPCA based on your state. We encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state) as this is the fastest way for you to get your ballot. will tell you if your state accepts the FPCA by email, mail, or fax.  If you are required to mail your FPCA, see mailing options below.  Allow 2-4 weeks for the FPCA to arrive at your local election office.

Step 2:  Receive and Complete Your Ballot:  States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections.  For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.  Resources for researching candidates are outlined below.

Step 3:  Return Your Completed Ballot:  Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return ballot by mail, you can do so free of charge at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon. Note: Your ballot must be placed in postage paid return envelopes or envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and addressed to relevant local election officials.

Bring your sealed, addressed, postage-paid envelopes to the U.S. Embassy in Yangon from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, excluding Embassy holidays. No appointment is needed! Do not drop off your ballot to guards at the Embassy’s front gate; come inside the Embassy and hand-deliver it to consular staff. If you are unable to bring the ballot in person, another person can bring your sealed ballot to the Embassy on your behalf.

Pro Tip: Your ballot will be returned via the Diplomatic Pouch, which is slower than normal mail. Please allow 2-4 weeks for your ballot to arrive at your local election office. If it’s more convenient, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service, at your own expense.

Researching the Candidates and Issues:  Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will 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.

Embassy Assistance

If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact our Voting Assistance Officer at (01) 536-509, or at

For updates on election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (  FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).

Remember, your vote counts!


What is my U.S. voting residence address?

It’s usually the last place you lived before moving overseas. You do not need to have any current ties with this address.

Can I vote at the Embassy?

No. Elections are run at the State level. You must communicate directly with your State to register, request a ballot, and vote.

Do I have to send in a separate application for each election?

The FPCA allows you to request an absentee ballot for all federal elections in the calendar year. Depending on your State, you may receive a ballot with local or State offices and initiatives as well (e.g., Governor, City Council). We recommend that you send in a new FPCA every January and each time you move.

When will I get my ballot?

Election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election.  If you asked to receive your ballot by email, it should arrive right away. Mailed ballots will take longer depending on the postal system in the country where you’re located.

What if I don’t get a ballot?

If you don’t receive an absentee ballot in time to return it to your State, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as a backup ballot to vote for federal offices.  If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot as well.  Your State will count only one.

Does voter registration affect my tax status?

You can vote for federal offices without a change to your tax status, but voting for non-federal offices may result in State and local taxation. There may also be tax implications when changing your residence from one State to another. We recommend that you seek legal advice when changing your voting residence.

Can I sign my FPCA or FWAB electronically?

No. You must print and sign your form before sending it to your election office.