Message for U.S. Citizens: Don’t Let the Elections Pass You By

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 Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, or Vanuatu, please see our website and our prior voting messages here and here.  Completed voting materials may be submitted at the Embassy’s Consular section Monday through Friday before 3:00 pm.  The Embassy is closed on U.S. and local national holidays.  Facemasks are required.  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, the Embassy recommends completing and returning 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.  Accordingly, U.S. citizens who plan to drop their completed voting materials off at the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby should do so on or before October 8, in order to allow sufficient processing time between the Embassy, the Department of State, and U.S. Postal Service systems.  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 and cargo flight availability, 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.

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 and bring it to the Embassy on Monday through Friday before 3:00 pm. Facemasks are required.

Missed the U.S. Embassy shipment deadline OR you are in Solomon Islands or Vanuatu?  Consider returning your ballot to the United States via 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.

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.

Need help?  You can get in-person assistance from our Embassy Voting Assistance Officer.

Have Questions?  Please contact Embassy Port Moresby’s Voting Assistance Officer at ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov.  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.