Voting 2020 FAQs

Yes, you need to make sure you are registered to vote before you can receive your ballot. This includes absentee ballots for overseas voters. Go to to make sure you are registered to vote and request your absentee ballot.

We recommend that you go to, and follow the steps to request your absentee ballot as soon as possible. Every state has its own deadline and you can check election dates and deadlines at

Election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election and most states have their deadline for absentee ballot submission on October 5, 2020. If you requested your ballot by email, then the ballot should arrive right away. Mailed ballots will take longer to arrive depending on the postal system in the country where you are located.

Yes. Most states require absentee ballots to be signed by the voter before submitting it to be counted. Unsigned ballots are generally discarded by the local election office. Please follow specific absentee ballot instructions on how and where to sign your absentee ballot when you receive it.

Ballots are usually not ready until at least 45 days before the election time and if you choose to use the diplomatic pouch system, it generally takes up to three weeks for the pouch to get to the United States, then it will be forwarded to the local election office. In addition to around one week to mail your ballot to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, it could take three to four weeks for your ballot to arrive at its local election office in the United States before the deadline.

U.S. voters who have not received their ballots at least 30 days before an election day can fill out the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), also known as the “backup” ballot.  It is available for download at  Voters can print, sign, and mail the completed and signed FWAB themselves or drop it off at the nearest embassy or consulate as they would a standard ballot. Some states accept absentee ballots by email or fax, so please review the state-specific guidelines at

This year, 30 days before the election is October 4, 2020.

You must pay for postage only if you are using a foreign postal service or a commercial courier service. If you are mailing your ballot to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to use the diplomatic pouch, then you can print the postage-paid template from onto any available blank envelope. Then, put it in another envelope with local Indian postage and address it to the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Please note that some states require you to place ballots and FWABs inside an anonymous security/secret envelope. When sending your voting materials, make sure you have two envelopes: one for the ballot or FWAB and one for actual mailing. Place the security envelope along with the other balloting materials inside the mailing envelope. Once this is complete, you can address and send your voting materials to your election office.

No. Elections are run at the state level. You must communicate directly with your state to register, request a ballot, and vote. U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not polling places.

If you have already completed your absentee ballot, please check specific submission instructions to either drop it off or mail it in to the nearest American Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in India: