An official website of the United States government

Voting by Absentee Ballot in the 2020 U.S. Elections
August 27, 2020

This year, the U.S. Elections will take place on Tuesday, November 3rd. In some states voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2020 election are as early as October 5th. Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA-pdf) each year to ensure you are able to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon if you have not already received it. If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request you should contact your local election officials in the United States or check the status of your registration via your state’s voter registration verification website.

You can get voting assistance from U.S. Consulate Vienna. You can also drop off your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, at Consulate Vienna. 

If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy — just follow these steps:

  1. Complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA-pdf)

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, you should complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall. It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.

The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA. It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible. 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 to take advantage of electronic delivery. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign.

  1. Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Electronically: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically by email or fax.  A handful of states now allow you to cast digital ballots via a secure web-based portal.

Mail: If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you have several options:

  • Use a professional courier service such as FedEx or DHL.
  • Austrian Post: You may use international mail by placing your signed, dated ballot in a properly addressed envelope, bearing sufficient Austrian postage, and mail it from any Austrian post office. General transit time: two weeks by Priority mail.
  • Diplomatic Pouch from Consulate Vienna: The Consulate is pleased to offer free shipment of ballots, FPCAs and other official election materials via diplomatic pouch. You must place your ballots in a postage-paid, return envelope that normally arrives with your absentee ballot, or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage, in order for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. Postal Service. You can also download the postage-paid envelope (see all materials and forms) and address it to your county board of elections. Drop off your ballot or FPCA by October 7 at:

U.S. Consulate Vienna
Parkring 12a (Marriott hotel building)
1010 Vienna, Austria
Hours: Weekdays between 8am and 4pm. (Closed Sept. 7 for U.S. Labor Day)
Closest tram & metro stops: Weihburggasse (Tram 2), Stadtpark (U4), Stubentor (U3)

All voting materials MUST be placed in a U.S. postage paid envelope and addressed to the appropriate U.S. election office.

  • If it’s more convenient for you, you can have a friend or family member drop off your FPCA at the Consulate on your behalf.
  1. Receive Your Ballot

After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm online your registration and ballot delivery selection. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (this year, by September 19) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.

  1. Return Your Ballot

Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically. 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 such as FedEx or DHL, or through Consulate Vienna’s diplomatic pouch. You may also use the Austrian Postal System: Place Austrian international priority postage on your completed, signed, dated, FPCA or voted ballot, and mail it directly to the local election officials in the state where you vote. Make sure USA is indicated at the end of the address of your U.S. board of elections. Then, mail it from any Austrian post office.

You may drop off your ballot in person at Consulate Vienna at Parkring 12A (Marriott Hotel building), Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed Sept. 7 for U.S. Labor Day).  See Part 2 above for details. Ballots sent by Diplomatic Pouch must be placed in a postage-paid envelope for them to be delivered to the proper local election authorities once received by the U.S. sorting facility.  It can take up to three weeks for mail sent by Diplomatic Pouch to reach your local election office. Therefore, Consulate Vienna will not accept any ballots after October 2.

If You Don’t Receive Your Official Ballot

If there isn’t enough time to receive and send back your ballot before the election, use the online assistant to complete the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), or download and print the FWAB here. It is a backup ballot you can use if you don’t receive your ballot in a timely manner. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, also fill it out and send it in. Only one will be counted. After you send in your ballot, you can check if it was received by your election office.


Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting. Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot. Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.

Your Vote Counts

Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. 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 (differs by state). Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will aid your research of candidates and issues. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online and search the Internet to locate articles and information.

To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).

Questions: If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the U.S. Embassy Vienna Voting Assistance Officer at VoteVienna@state.gov or call (01-31339-7535).

Important Note: U.S. Embassies and Consulates are not polling places. Same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States. Please do not send any voting materials to the embassy by mail.  They will be returned to you.

U.S. Consulate Vienna

Parkring 12A
1010 Vienna, Austria
American Citizen Services Unit
Telephone in Austria: 01-31339-7535
Telephone from U.S.: (011-43) 31339-7535
Website: https://at.usembassy.gov
American Citizen Services e-mail: ConsulateVienna@state.gov