Voting in U.S. elections
Overseas citizens are eligible to participate in primary, run-off, and special elections that occur throughout the year, as well as the general elections in November.
We strongly encourage you to register to vote and/or request absentee ballots as early in the year as possible to ensure that you will receive all ballots for which you are eligible. Should questions or problems occur, you would still be able to address them in time to vote in the general elections.
The official US Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance is the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at http://www.fvap.gov.
Be an educated voter. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues is widely available and easy to obtain via the Internet. Use the links appearing on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, or choose any one of several search engines to locate articles and information.
The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, Finland, is available to answer questions about absentee voting. To contact the Voting Assistance Officer, send an e-mail to VoteHelsinki@state.gov. Look for notices from the Embassy throughout the year relating to upcoming elections.
Again, we strongly encourage you to begin this process as soon as possible.
Voting in 2016
Your vote counts! Did you know that many recent U.S. elections have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by military and overseas voters? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2016 U.S. elections:
Registering to Vote: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (pdf). Even if you have voted by absentee ballot in the past, you must complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to vote in the 2016 elections. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories. It allows you to register to vote and to request absentee ballots for all regular, primary, run-off, and special elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) during the course of the year it is submitted in.
You can complete the FPCA online at FVAP.gov. The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. It will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature.
Receiving Your Ballot: Request Electronic Delivery! States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office (President, U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives) and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. No matter which state you vote in, we encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Be sure to include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. You can now also confirm your registration and ballot delivery online for most states.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain via numerous websites such as Project Smart Voter. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, or search the Internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP's Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.
Returning Your Completed Ballot: Other Options. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the U.S. Embassy Helsinki. They must be in either postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and must also be addressed to the relevant local election officials.
If you want to mail your ballot through the Embassy, please come to the Embassy Helsinki Gate A to drop off your sealed ballot. You can drop off your ballot any business day between the hours of 1pm and 5pm. Please allow 10 business days for the ballot to reach the United States.
Ballot drop off location:
US Embassy Helsinki
Gate A (at the corner of Siltatie and Itäinen Puistotie)
Itäinen Puistotie 14
Times for Ballot drop off:
1:00pm -5 pm
If you wish to use the Finnish postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery. If time is tight, you may want to use a private courier service (e.g., FedEx, UPS, or DHL) to meet your state's ballot receipt deadline at your own expense.
Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website FVAP.gov. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact Helsinki’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteHelsinki@state.gov.