(Need to get a US election absentee ballot fast? Check out this October 28, 2020 post)
If most US expats voted, it could turn an election.
Many US elections are close.
They are decided by a margin smaller than the number of absentee voters.
Your vote could be the difference.
How To Vote From Overseas
All U.S. citizens can receive their ballots electronically.
Depending on the state in which you are eligible to vote, you can get your ballot by email, fax, or online.
This video ends with a pro-democratic party message. I am not suggesting that you vote Democratic. I used this video for its great message, “You can vote from abroad!”
7 “How to Vote” Resources
My husband and I have voted in various U.S. Presidential and other elections from Panama.
It wasn’t always easy to vote from overseas. Thankfully, it continues to get easier and the number of information sites on how to vote overseas keeps growing.
I have compiled 7 reliable websites on how to register to vote, and how to vote from overseas. Many of these sites also provide information about upcoming elections. Use whichever source you like best.
1) Overseas Vote Foundation is a non-partisan site for US citizens abroad and US military. You can register to vote and request your absentee ballot through this site.
It also offers a wealth of information on the State voting requirements, election dates and deadlines, and contact information. It even includes information on candidates running for election. One thing I like about this site is that it easily lets you vote overseas, even if you are only overseas for a few weeks. This means if you are only out of the country for election day, you will remain registered in your home state, so you don’t have to re-register.
Best of all, it offers a Federal write-in absentee ballot. You can use that type of ballot if your requested absentee ballot is late.
2) Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party arm for Americans living outside the US.
Democrats Abroad is recognized as a “state” Party by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). It is represented on the DNC by 8 voting members, as well as at the quadrennial Democratic National Convention.
It is a vibrant organization with a presence all over the world, including Panama. During the last Presidential election, they had the first ever online presidential debate between Clinton and Sanders. It focused on issues of interest to US citizens abroad.
Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary
From March 3-10, 2020, Democrats can remotely vote in the Democratic Abroad 2020 Global Primary. There are also in-person voting locations on select dates within that time frame.
Find out how to vote in the 2020 Democratic Global Presidential Primary, here.
In 2016, almost 35,000 people in over 170 countries voted in the first Global Presidential Primary. The results of that primary awarded Sanders 9 pledged delegates and Clinton 4 delegates.
3) Republicans Overseas. Good news for Republicans. Until recently there was no website for Republicans overseas. But now there is one: RepublicansOverseas.com. The main goal of the organization is to repeal FATCA. I must say I am 100% behind that effort! Their website also provides some information about voting as a Republican from abroad.
There is also a Republican Overseas facebook page, which has been around for quite a few years.
(Note: Republicans do not allow US citizens to vote in the Republican Presidential primary election while overseas. That is, unless you register in time and subsequently vote via your home state’s absentee ballot system. Otherwise, Republican expats can only cast their vote for President in the general election.)
4) Vote from Abroad is a site for US Citizens that allows you to both register and vote from abroad. It also has all sorts of information, such as
- Quick write-in ballot access
- State election dates & deadlines
- State election official contact information
- Recent votes from your representatives
5) Federal Voting Assistance Program provides voting assistance to Service members, their families, and US Citizens overseas. It seems to have an easy 5 step process as well as quite a lot of information about upcoming elections.
6) US State Department has a wealth of voting information about voting abroad. It includes a link to an emergency last minute ballot.
7) US Embassy in Panama usually has a message to US citizens about voting abroad and in Panama specifically. For example it explains where and when to submit your US ballots to locations in Panama, or if you can mail them to your home state. To find out the US Embassy’s latest advice on voting, click here.
If you have questions about voting in US elections from Panama, the US Embassy Panama Voting Assistance has more information at this link. You can also email them at [email protected].
Remember, your vote counts!”