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Ask the Consul

I'm an American Citizen but live in the Dominican Republic, can I vote in the upcoming elections?

December 19, 2011

Yes! Generally, all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who are or will be residing outside the United States during an election period are eligible to vote by absentee ballot in any election for Federal office. The next general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Many states have primary elections in January or February and every state has a deadline for closing their registration lists so it is important to act quickly. You can check your state's registration deadline by going to the following Internet address: http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/vag/vagchapter3.html.

Keep in mind that your "legal State of residence" for voting purposes is the State or territory where you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the United States. This applies to overseas citizens even though you may not have property or other ties in your last State of residence and your intent to return to that State may be uncertain.

You may vote while overseas in five easy steps:

1. Send in a completed Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to your local election officials (available at www.FVAP.gov)

2. They confirm your eligibility to vote, and put your name on a list to receive absentee ballots

3. They send you a blank absentee ballot by mail and make it available electronically

4. Complete the ballot and send it back before the ballot receipt deadline

5. If your ballot fails to arrive, use the emergency Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote

Please remember that if you want to be able to vote while you are outside the United States, you should send a completed FPCA every year.

You can download the FPCA, FWAB, Postage Paid envelopes and security envelopes here: http://www.fvap.gov/vao/index.html

For more information, please visit www.FVAP.gov or http://santodomingo.usembassy.gov