Message for U.S. Citizens: Absentee and Overseas Voting from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu

Be an Active Voter by taking the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections as early as possible!

In some states, voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2020 are as early as October 5th.

While many states have their own online voter registration tools accessible through the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website, we recommend that overseas voters complete aFederal Post Card Application (FPCA)each year, as some states require overseas voters to renew absentee ballot requests every year. The FPCA is a standardized form accepted by all states.

If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)in 2020 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon if you have not already received it. If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request you should contact your local election officials in the United States or check the status of your registration via your state’s voter registration verification website.

You may get voting assistance from the embassy/consulate by writing to us at ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov. You may also drop off your completed voting forms and ballots Monday through Friday anytime before 3:00 pm. The Embassy is closed on U.S. and local national holidays.

Physical election materials to be forwarded by the Embassy must be placed in a postage-paid return envelope or an envelope bearing sufficient U.S. postage, and must be pre-addressed to relevant local election officials. We cannot accept or process ballots that do not meet these requirements.

U.S. citizens may bring their pre-prepared election materials in an sealed envelope or choose to seal them at the Embassy. Following screening, U.S. citizens may drop the materials off in the Consular Section waiting area with a Consular staff member.

Facemasks are required. Due to social distancing measures, only one person or family unit at a time will be admitted to the Consular Section.

The Embassy will accept and process all materials that meet these requirements, but we note that the Embassy is unable to guarantee delivery or provide tracking information for flat mail forwarded via diplomatic pouch. U.S. citizens should keep in mind that diplomatic pouch service to the United States may take several weeks.

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.

If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy ­– just follow these steps:

  1. Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.

The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. No matter which state you vote in, we encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.

  1. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Completed FPCAs may be dropped off at U.S. Embassy Port Moresby on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9:00 am and 11:30 am.

If it’s more convenient for you, you can have a friend or family member drop off your FPCA at the Embassy on your behalf or you can send your FPCA or ballot directly to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.

  1. Receive Your Ballot

After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (September 19) for federal office(President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.

  1. Return Your Ballot

We recommend that if you plan to return your paper ballot to your election officials via the U.S. embassy/consulate, please return your ballot to them by October 2 to account for transit times between overseas posts and local voting districts. If you wish to drop off your ballot, or have a friend or colleague drop it off for you, place it in either a postage-paid envelope or envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officialsYou can download the postage paid envelope from the FVAP.gov website 

If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot too. Only one will be counted.

After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.

Due to the global pandemic, it is strongly recommend that you check with your nearest embassy or consulate to determine whether they are able to collect ballots for return to the U.S. or are recommending use of a private commercial courier service.

YOUR VOTE COUNTS

Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline (differs by state).

Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues.  You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, and search the Internet to locate articles and information.

To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebookand Twitter.

If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Embassy Port Moresby’s Voting Assistance Officer at +675 308 2100 or at ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov.