Registering to Vote Absentee and Receiving a Ballot
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recommends that voters complete a registration and ballot request form (Federal Post Card Application or FPCA) each January. Most states require voters to register at least 45 days before an election. If you have access to a printer, the easiest and fastest way to register to vote and receive a ballot is to use the FVAP Automated Assistant. This online program walks you through the FPCA process for your individual state and also provides a method to generate and print a Postage Paid envelope you can use to mail those materials to election officials in your home state.
Some states allow you to return your FPCA form electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Embassy Panama will accept FPCA forms mailed to our offices or left in our ballot drop box. If you wish to send your form through the embassy, please follow the same instructions on the Mailing Your Ballot section of this page.
Most U.S. states will now allow you to receive your blank ballots via email or electronically. We encourage you to use this delivery method. Normally, it also possible to receive your blank ballots by fax or via surface mail. The U.S. Embassy cannot receive or deliver ballots (or any personal mail) for U.S. citizens. If you chose to have your ballot mailed to you via surface mail, you must provide to your state election officials an address in Panama at which you will receive your ballot.
If you do not wish to use the FVAP Automated Assistant, we can email you a copy of the FPCA form and the information you will need for your home state in order to complete the form. Email us at Panama-ACS@state.gov to request the form and information.
Mailing Your Ballot
Ballot receipt deadlines vary by state. Some states will allow you to email or fax your completed ballot; others will not. See the FVAP website for more guidance. The Embassy can also help you mail your completed ballot via surface mail. Once you have completed your ballot, you can mail it to our offices at the address listed below:
Embajada de los Estados Unidos
ATTN: Voting Officer
Edificio 783, Ave. Demetrio B. Lakas
Clayton, Panama City, Rep. Of Panama
If it is more convenient for you, you can also return your ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service at your own expense.
A ballot drop-box is also available near the main entrance of the Embassy. Those who wish to drop their ballots in the drop-box may do so from Monday to Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. or Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
Since your ballot will enter the U.S. Postal Service mail system after the Embassy sends it to the United States, you must either use a postage paid envelope or the correct postage amount must be affixed to the envelope. The U.S. Embassy cannot send the ballot if it does not have correct postage or a postage paid envelope.
Haven’t Received Your Ballot
If you requested an absentee ballot and haven’t received it from your state at least 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB is an emergency backup ballot. This backup ballot can be completed using the FVAP Online Assistant. The online assistant will guide you through the process of completing the form. Once you complete the form, you will be able to download and print the PDF package to sign and send to your election office. The U.S. Embassy can send the FWAB for you via Diplomatic Pouch to the United States. See the Mailing Your Ballot section of this page for instructions on mailing your ballot or FWAB.
If you are a U.S. citizen who has never resided in the United States, you still may be able to vote there. Though residency requirements vary from state to state, some U.S. states will allow U.S. citizens to vote if one of the citizen’s parents had residency in that state. For more information see the FVAP website.
For questions about voter registration issues, please contact us at PNMVoting@state.gov.
Voting is now easier than ever before! For more information please go to the link below: