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Daily LifeVoting Abroad

An Open House to Activate U.S. Voters

Consider some important numbers. The 2000 presidential election was decided by 537 votes. Millions of Americans live abroad. So, if you are among them, here is some practical advice to help you cast your absentee ballot.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act guarantees US citizens living abroad the right to vote in federal elections. The law defines your voting residence as the state or territory where you last resided before moving abroad. Americans who have never lived in the United States use the state or territory of last residence of one of their parents.

To apply for an absentee ballot or to simultaneously register to vote and apply for an absentee ballot, file a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), available online. By law, applications received up to 30 days before the election must be accepted, but it is wise to apply early to avoid delays. If you do not receive your ballot at least two weeks before the election and you have filed a timely FPCA, contact the Federal Voter Assistance Program Ombudsman Service at 0800 917 304 (toll-free in France). You may be advised to vote using a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, available at U.S. embassies or consulates.

A number of aspects of the absentee ballot procedure vary from state to state, so check the websites below or your state board of elections for state-specific information.

Finally, according to federal law, voting in a federal election cannot be used as evidence of liability for state taxes. If you are a resident of France, check box 8d on the FPCA to certify that you reside outside of the United States and to request a federal ballot only.

Related links:
The Union of Overseas Voters
Overseas Vote Foundation
Federal Voter Assistance Program
TellAnAmericanToVote.com

Pauline Welby
Copyright 2004

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