Are you following the election races back in the US, but unsure of how to vote from abroad? The process is actually fairly easy, and we will tell you how to vote from China in just a few steps. Be sure to act fast though: you must submit a ballot request by the end of January each year!Americans voting

Information in this post has been condensed from its original source at the State Department. For information pertaining to your specific state, click here (may need a vpn).


Voting Qualifications

You can vote from China if you are:

  • a U.S. citizen
  • at least 18 years old
  • an active duty member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine;
    or
  • an eligible spouse or family member of an active duty member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine; or
  • a U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S. (← This is most likely you.)

Voter Registration

To vote from China, you have to register to vote with local election officials in your state of legal (voting) residence, AND every year request to receive absentee ballots.

To register to vote from China and request an absentee ballot, complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and submit it to your local election office in the State you legally reside in. Download the form here.

The form must be completed, printed, and signed before sending via snail mail. It is recommended that you include your email address on the form so your state’s election officials can notify you of additional avenues for voting – such as electronic ballots.


Options for returning voted ballots:

  • Local mail   If you have good mail service to the United States, put your ballot in the mail with appropriate international postage.
  • U.S. Embassy Pouch/APO/FPO   You can drop off your ballot request or voted ballot at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for return to the United States, or you can have someone drop it off for you.  It must be addressed to your local election officials and have sufficient postage. (From Hangzhou, the nearest U.S. Consolate is located inShanghai)
  • Fax, Email, or Internet  A number of states now allow the electronic return of voted ballots.  Consult the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s Voting Assistance Guide for electronic transmission options for your state.
  • Express Courier Service   If time is short or local mail is unreliable, you can use professional courier services such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS.
    NOTE:  FedEx does not deliver to P.O. boxes.

Voting Electronically

If you request electronic delivery, you’ll receive your blank ballot 45 days before general and mid-term elections and generally 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Most states now have voter registration verification websites, and many offer a means of tracking the status of your registration and ballot.


Voting and Returning Your Ballot via Mail

Dependent on delivery speed, you should also receive a blank ballot 45 days before the general and mid-term elections and generally 30 days before special, primary, and run-off elections for federal offices. Complete your ballot carefully and legibly, and return it to your local election officials before your state’s ballot receipt deadline.  Send it back as early as possible.


Stay Active

Even though we aren’t currently living in America, voting is one of our civic and national responsibilities. It’s not just a question of who our next president will be, but also members of Congress and local governments as well. Stay updated on the issues that you value and make sure you submit your paperwork punctually. Also, please do research on candidates before you vote – you may realize that the candidates other people or the media like are not necessarily the best for your needs.i-voted-sticker

Categories: Resources

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