Voter registration and ballot requests are ongoing throughout the year via www.votefromabroad.org. Voters of any party affiliation can use this online tool designed specifically for U.S. civilians living abroad.
Although there are roughly 6.5 million U.S. citizens living abroad who are eligible to vote, only around 9 percent of those citizens vote in U.S. elections. International Voter Registration Day was promoted worldwide to raise awareness that Americans can vote from abroad. The right to vote in federal elections is specifically protected under U.S. law, and in most states, voters can vote in state and local elections as well.
Voting from abroad requires registering and requesting an overseas absentee ballot every year. Virtually all Americans of voting age can vote from abroad in federal elections, including this year’s midterm elections. Even first-time voters, American citizens who have never lived in the U.S., or those living abroad temporarily can register and request their ballots through VoteFromAbroad.org.
While U.S. citizens can also request an absentee ballot via their state’s election office, there are some distinct benefits to using VoteFromAbroad.org:
- VFA provides a dedicated, trained voter assistance team to answer any questions about overseas voting.
- VFA has a state-by-state voter guide that explains each state’s requirements.
- By submitting a ballot request via VFA, the voter’s ballot is federally protected and a backup ballot is available if the voter’s state ballot is delayed.
- Voters abroad will receive their ballots 45 days before their state’s election, allowing them ample time to vote and return their ballots.
In 2020, over 200,000 Americans abroad requested their ballots via votefromabroad.org. 1432 of those were U.S. citizens living in Portugal. SEF reports that there are 4768 U.S. citizens residing in Portugal, but this number does not include people with dual Portuguese/American citizenship, dual citizens holding other EU passports, or Portuguese children of U.S. citizen parents who have never resided in the U.S. Many of these people may not realise that they may be eligible to vote in U.S. federal elections.
Americans who would like to learn more about their voter eligibility and the process to request and submit overseas ballots should visit www.votefromabroad.org. Detailed voter guides and a voter assistance team are available to clarify any questions.
VoteFromAbroad.org is a non-partisan platform, paid for by the Democratic Party Committee Abroad, that helps U.S. citizens vote from abroad by producing the necessary federal forms. In using the site, only the information necessary for filling out Federal forms related to voting as a U.S. citizen overseas is collected.