Message for U.S. Citizens – U.S. Embassy Riga, Latvia (August 28, 2020)
Event: Voting from Overseas
Registering to vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy, and can be done from anywhere in the world!
Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more. Once you confirm your registration, follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:
- Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA.Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way for you to get your ballot and ensures you have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
- Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
- Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy Riga’s diplomatic pouch. The diplomatic pouch provides free mail service from embassies and consulates to a U.S. sorting facility. You will need to place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage, in order for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities. If using the diplomatic pouch, ballots can be dropped off in the ballot box at the U.S. Embassy in Riga, Samnera Velsa iela 1. The ballot box is located inside the main entrance. When you arrive at the Embassy, approach the window at the main entrance. The guards will ask for your identification documents so that you can enter. Once you enter, hand your ballot to the guard inside who will put the envelope through security screening procedures similar to airport screening while you observe. Once screened, the guard will hand the ballot back to you to put into the ballot box, labeled “Ballot Box” located just inside the door. Please note that delivery times vary, but it can take up to 3-4 weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent via diplomatic pouch. All overseas U.S. citizens are advised to submit their forms and ballots accordingly.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to 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 on-line. 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 (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).
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 U.S Embassy Riga’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteRiga@state.gov.
Remember, your vote counts!
- U.S. Embassy Riga, Latvia
Samnera Velsa iela 1
+371 6710 7000
+371 6710 7000 (after hours)
- After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +371 2920 5708
- State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Latvia Country Information
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