Voting in U.S. Elections from Hungary
All U.S. citizens living outside of the United States must complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) every year if they wish to vote by absentee ballot. You will not automatically receive ballots based on a previous absentee ballot request. We recommend overseas U.S. citizens get in the habit of completing FPCAs each January. To start, go to www.FVAP.gov to complete a new FPCA, print and sign the form, then return it to your local election office in the United States. No matter the state in which you are eligible to vote, you may ask your local election officials to provide your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, fax or internet download, depending on your state). Be sure to include your email address on the FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. If your state delivers ballots electronically by fax only, be sure to include your fax number. If you request electronic delivery in January and include your email address or fax number, you should receive your blank ballot 45 days before general and mid-term elections and about 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot. Electronic ballot delivery is the fastest and most reliable way to receive your ballot on time and we strongly recommend every overseas U.S. citizen voter take advantage of it. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website, www.FVAP.gov.
Remember that your vote counts, and that 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 it reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Be an Educated Voter. 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 via various websites such as Project Smart Voter. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.
Final Opportunities to Return Voted Ballots
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. The majority of states require voted ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 6. U.S. citizens who want to participate in the 2018 U.S. elections should already have returned their absentee ballots to their local election officials.
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, complete and return 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
The final date to return your paper ballot to your local election officials by election day for free via the U.S. Embassy is October 17, 2018 . 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 an envelope bearing domestic U.S. postage addressed to your local election officials and deposit the envelope in the Voting Ballot Box located inside the U.S. Embassy Consular Section Security Entrance. The Consular Entrance is staffed Monday through Friday from 08:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00, excluding American and Hungarian holidays. Please allow two weeks delivery time for the mail to reach voting officials in the United States.
Missed the U.S. Embassy shipment deadline? Consider returning your ballot to the United States via an express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL or 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 6 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. If you have previously registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot but it has not yet arrived, the following states allow voters to use email or fax to send signed, voted Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots to local election officials: Alaska (fax only), Arizona (contact election official first), Arkansas (fax only), Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida (fax only), Hawaii (fax only), Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana (fax only), Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska (fax only, paper copy must also be mailed), Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma (fax only), Oregon (paper copy must also be mailed), Rhode Island (fax only), South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia. Review your state’s voting procedures at www.FVAP.gov carefully for guidance.
Returning your ballot by international mail delivery. If using Hungary’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery. Ballots sent via regular international mail from most countries at this late date are unlikely to reach local election officials by state ballot receipt deadlines.
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.
Have Questions? Please contact Budapest’s Voting Assistance Officer at +36-1-475-4164 or email@example.com. 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.
Help Spread the Word About Overseas Voting!
Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to focus on 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, 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.
2. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)
If you would like to drop off your completed Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot for delivery to the United States free of charge, the U.S. Embassy in Budapest is accepting voted ballots and FPCAs. Feel free to drop your ballots and FPCAs in our secure ballot box, located inside the U.S. Embassy Consular Section Security Entrance. The Consular Entrance is staffed Monday through Friday from 0800-1200 and 1300-1700, excluding American and Hungarian holidays. Please allow at least two weeks delivery time for the mail to reach the United States.
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.
3. 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 (on or around September 24) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.
4. Return Your Ballot
As with the FPCA, you can return your voted ballot to your local election officials free of charge via the nearest embassy or consulate or mail it directly at your own expense.
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.
If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the U.S. Embassy’s Voting Assistance Officer at +36-1-475-4164, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.