Voting

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 will allow you to submit the FPCA online; others will not. If your state requires you mail the form, we can assist with that. Once you have completed, downloaded, and signed your voter registration and ballot request forms, you can bring them to the U.S. Embassy Monday to Thursday between 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. and Friday between 08:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (please note we are closed for professional development on the second Wednesday of each month), and we will send them to the United States for you using the Diplomatic Pouch. However, since the forms will enter the regular U.S. Postal Service mail system when they arrive in the United States, you must either use the Postage Paid envelope generated by the FVAP Automated Assistant, or affix the correct U.S. postage to the envelope in which you have placed your registration form and ballot request. The U.S. Embassy cannot send forms that do not have correct postage or a Postage Paid envelop.

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 wish to use the FVAP Automated Assistant and do not have access to a printer or computer, you can use the computers and printer in the U.S. Embassy Consular Section Lobby Monday to Thursday between 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 (except for the second Wednesday of each month) to produce your registration and ballot request forms. You will need to provide your own envelope to print the Postage Paid envelope in which to mail the completed forms. If you do not wish to use the FVAP Automated Assistant, we can provide you with a paper FPCA form and the information you will need for your home state in order to complete the form.

 

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 bring it to the Embassy during regular business hours (Monday to Thursday between 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. and Friday between 08:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., except for the second Wednesday of each month) and we will send it to the United States via Diplomatic Pouch. However, since the forms will enter the regular U.S. Postal Service mail system when they arrive in the United States, you must either use the Postage Paid envelope generated by the FVAP Automated Assistant, or affix the correct U.S. postage to the envelope in which you have placed your completed ballot. The U.S. Embassy cannot send forms that do not have correct postage or a Postage Paid envelop.

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. However, since the FWAB will enter the regular U.S. Postal Service mail system when it arrives in the United States, you must either use the Postage Paid envelope generated by the FVAP Automated Assistant, or affix the correct U.S. postage to the envelope in which you have placed your FWAB. The U.S. Embassy cannot send FWABs that do not have correct postage or a Postage Paid envelop.

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.

Contact us:

For questions about voter registration issues, please contact us at PNMVoting@state.gov.