Politics, Americas, US Elections 2020

2020 US Election Day: Americans abroad also have vote

3M eligible American voters live abroad and may cast pivotal votes this year

Beyza Binnur Dönmez   | 03.11.2020
2020 US Election Day: Americans abroad also have vote


Though many Americans are expecting long lines to cast their ballots in-person on Tuesday, marking their choices for president and members of Congress, US Election Day, there will be no polling stations for Americans living abroad.

There are 5.5 million US citizens, including military personnel, living abroad, and nearly 3 million of them are eligible to vote.

The various voting regulations and deadlines of each state also affect overseas voters, and as federal entities, embassies cannot serve as polling stations.

To vote, expatriate Americans designate their state of voting residence, the state where they were last domiciled before leaving the country. One thing to remember is that US embassies or consulates abroad are not polling places.

For citizens who have never been in the US, many states also allow them to vote in a state where their parent was last domiciled.

Overseas voters must use the Federal Post Card Application, with their designated state sending them a ballot no later than 45 days before Election Day.

Voters must follow the deadline guidelines of each state to receive overseas ballots.

Overseas ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 but received 10 days later are still valid in Florida, while in Connecticut, they must be received on Election Day.

Voters also have the option to return their ballot electronically, by email or fax. However, except in Nevada and Montana, voters must first register by finishing and signing a printed form, which has to be returned in the post to their local election office.

President Donald Trump has regularly raised the specter of fraud in mail-in voting, but has not backed up his claims up with evidence, according to most election experts.

The countries abroad with the highest numbers of American voters are Canada, the UK, Mexico, France, and Japan.

Overseas voters showed low participation in the 2016 presidential elections, with only 7.8% of eligible American citizens casting their votes from abroad.

Overseas voters can make a difference in a tight election.

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