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Americans Overseas Need to Take Steps Now to Vote

  • VOA News

FILE - A woman wears an "I voted" sticker after voting in Massachusetts' primary election in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, March 1, 2016.

FILE - A woman wears an "I voted" sticker after voting in Massachusetts' primary election in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, March 1, 2016.

With less than 75 days left before the U.S. presidential election, it is time for Americans living, working or traveling abroad to take steps to vote.

The extra time is needed because U.S. elections are managed individually by the 50 states, U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. This means there are 55 different sets of rules for absentee voting.

But the basic steps are simple:

Step 1. Register to vote. If you have yet to register but are overseas, print out the forms listed on your state’s election website and mail them to the state's election office.

Step 2. The easiest way to cast a ballot while overseas is to go to the Federal Voter Assistance Program website at FVAP.gov and click on the state you’re registered to vote in to get state-specific information.

Step 3. Download, print and fill out the PDF forms.

Step 4. Put your ballot in an envelope, put the required postage on it and mail it in.

FVAP also recommends that if you're an absentee voter, you should:

— Allow plenty of time to request, receive and return a ballot.

— Notify your election office each time your mailing address changes.

— Become familiar with your state's absentee-voting deadlines and procedures to make sure your ballot is properly executed and will be counted.

— Complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) early if you are unsure of the time required to return the ballot to meet the state's deadline.

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