Military and Overseas Voters

Military and Overseas Voting

Will you be overseas or away from the District on active duty on Election Day? Not sure how to cast your ballot?

Any voter can request an absentee ballot in the District of Columbia. However, the Board provides certain additional services to military and overseas voters. Qualifying voters are active duty military and their dependents, members of the Coast Guard, commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration, the Merchant Marine, and civilian citizens of the United States living overseas who are eligible to vote in District elections. The District also allows U.S. citizens who were born overseas the opportunity to vote at the same address where a parent most recently lived in the United States.

Can I use a regular absentee ballot application?

Yes. If you are a registered voter in the District, you can use the same absentee ballot application as any other voter. If you have a long-term residence overseas, you can also use that form to sign up for the permanent list of absentee voters.

What if I will be home during early voting or on Election Day? Can I vote in person?

Yes. You can vote in person. However, if you have already requested an absentee ballot or are on our permanent list of absentee voters, contact us to make sure that we have not already mailed you a ballot. If we have, you will need to cast a provisional ballot at the polls (also known as a "special ballot") that will only be counted if we do not receive your absentee ballot.

Five Steps to Vote Absentee

There are five steps to voting absentee in the District of Columbia. Military and overseas voters can shorten the process by doing more than one step at a time.

Voting Absentee Options for Military and Overseas Voters Emergency Option: Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot
Step 1: Register to Vote or Update Your Voter Registration

Click here to update your voter registration or to complete a new voter registration application. You can complete the form online, print it, sign your name and mail it to:

District of Columbia Board of Elections 441 4th Street N.W., Suite 250 North Washington, D.C. 20001

Registration applications must be postmarked at least 30 days before Election Day.
Combine Step 1 and Step 2: Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

You can follow the process at the left or complete the Federal Post Card Application (online application), which both registers you to vote and requests an absentee ballot for each election until the next regularly scheduled general election (November of an even year). If you prefer, you can request absentee ballots for a different time period.

You can return your FPCA by mail, email or fax. Registration and absentee ballot request deadlines, at left, still apply.
      1) By mail:

      District of Columbia
      Board of Elections
      441 4th Street N.W., Suite 250 North
      Washington, D.C. 20001


      2) By fax:

      You can fax your FPCA
      directly to the Board at (202) 347-2648.


      3) By email:

      You can send your form by email as a signed,
      scanned attachment to
      uocava@dcboee.org
Combine Steps 1 through 4: Use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)

Federal law allows military and overseas voters to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (online application or PDF) to cast votes in all contests if you are concerned that you may not be able to receive or cast your ballot in time for it to be counted.

In the District of Columbia, you can use the FWAB to register to vote as well as to request an absentee ballot and to cast your vote in all federal and District contests on the ballot.

For a list of contests and candidates to write in, see the sample ballot for the appropriate election (see voting information including lists of contests on the ballot and sample ballots for Election Year 2014).

You can still apply for a regular ballot and return it, even if you have already cast a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. If we receive your normal ballot, we will count it rather than the write-in votes on your FWAB.

You can return your FWAB by mail, email or fax. Registration, absentee ballot request, and ballot return deadlines and methods of return, at left, still apply.
Step 2: Request Your Ballot by Mail

Click here to request an absentee ballot by mail. You can complete the form online, print it, sign your name and mail it to the address above.

Absentee ballot requests must be received at least 7 days before Election Day.

Step 3: Receive Your Ballot by Mail

Absentee ballots are sent by mail to the address listed on the Absentee Ballot Request Form.
Step 3: Receive Your Ballot by Mail, Fax or Email

The District of Columbia allows military and overseas voters to receive your blank ballot by mail, email or fax if you request your ballot using the Federal Post Card Application. Indicate how you would like to receive your ballot on the FPCA. If you do not make a selection, your ballot will be mailed to you.
Step 4: Return a Voted Ballot by Mail

Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and must arrive no later than 10 days after the election. If you requested a ballot at least 7 days before Election Day but have not yet received it, contact the Board to request an emergency ballot.
Step 4: Return a Voted Ballot by Mail, Fax or Email

You can return your ballot by mail, email or fax. Ballot return deadlines, at left, still apply.
      1) By mail:

      District of Columbia
      Board of Elections
      441 4th Street N.W., Suite 250 North
      Washington, D.C. 20001

      Overseas uniformed service members and their family members with access to the Military Postal Service may use the "Prepaid Expedited Mail - Label 11-DOD". This label is available at APO/FPO locations and can only be used for the general election. It provides expedited mail service up to seven days prior to the election. You can return your ballot with this label attached at any MPO/FPO, American embassy or consulate. A portion of the label is retained by you for tracking your ballot through the U.S. Postal Service.


      2) By fax:

      You can fax your ballot directly to the Board at (202) 347-2648, if you return it with a cover sheet stating your name and address, signature, date, and the statement "Pursuant to Title 3 DCMR Section 718.10, I understand that by electronically submitting my voted ballot I am voluntarily waiving my right to a secret ballot."


      3) By email:

      You can email your ballot as a scanned attachment to uocava@dcboee.org. If you return your ballot by email, you must also return a waiver including your name and address, signature, date, and the statement "Pursuant to Title 3 DCMR Section 718.10, I understand that by electronically submitting my voted ballot I am voluntarily waiving my right to a secret ballot."
Step 5: Track Your Ballot

You can track the status of your absentee ballot by following the links at http://www.dcboee.org.
Step 5: Track Your Ballot

You can track the status of your absentee ballot by following the links at http://www.dcboee.org.
Step 5: Track Your Ballot

You can track the status of your absentee ballot by following the links at http://www.dcboee.org.

Outreach Request Form*

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DC Board of Elections
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 250 North
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 727-2525 | TTY: (202) 639-8916 | Tollfree: 1-866-DC-VOTES
Don't see your Questions listed? Ask the Director now! Election Year 2014 Register to Vote Find your Polling Place Election Day Workers Interactive Maps Employment Opportunities
  • General Election: 11/4/2014
  • Primary Election: 4/1/2014

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