The U.S. Embassy in Paris sent out this message recently to American residents abroad.
Absentee Voting for 2010 General Election
August 4, 2010
Eligibility to Vote
Voting eligibility and residency requirements are determined by the various U.S. states, and are available on-line in the Voting Assistance Guide at http://www.fvap.gov/resources/media/2010vag.pdf. Your “legal state of residence” for voting purposes is the state where you last resided immediately prior to departure from the United States. Voting rights extend to overseas citizens even though they may no longer own property or have other ties to their last state of residence, and even if their intent to return to that state may be uncertain. For those who have never resided in the United States, sixteen states allow certain U.S. citizens to register where a parent or spouse would be eligible to vote.
Voter Registration and Requesting an Absentee Ballot
Voters who have not yet registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot should do so by August 15, 2010 using the following steps to ensure that they receive their voting ballot on time:
1. Complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) using the instructions for your state in the Voting Assistance Guide. You may use a hard copy of the FPCA from any U.S. Embassy or Consulate in France, or use the online version.
2. Sign, date and mail the completed FPCA to the address listed in the Voting Assistance Guide. If you are sending the FPCA through international mail, please affix appropriate airmail postage. Alternatively, you can print out a postage-paid address label and ask any U.S. Embassy or Consulate to send your FPCA postage-paid through diplomatic pouch or the military postal service. Some states allow voters to send in the FPCA by fax, but they also require you to send in the hard copy by mail. Follow your state’s regulations precisely.
3. Send in a new FPCA if you have moved or changed your name since the last time you voted.
Beginning with the November 2010 general election, and for all subsequent general, special, and primary elections, state officials will be required to mail out ballots at least 45 days prior to an election for a federal office. Return your voted ballot as early as possible either through international mail or any U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Be aware of your state’s ballot receipt deadline, as well as any postmarking requirements.
The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) serves as an emergency ballot for voters who registered in time but fail to receive an official ballot from local election officials. Please note: You must register to vote and request an absentee ballot by your state’s deadline to be eligible to use the FWAB. We strongly recommend that voters who have not received their ballot by October 2, 2010 complete and return the FWAB to ensure your vote is received in time to be counted.
The official U.S. government website for overseas voters is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website at www.fvap.gov.
The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Embassy Paris is also always available to answer questions about absentee voting.
To contact the Voting Assistance Officer, call or send an e-mail to VoteParis@state.gov.
United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22