Military & Overseas Voters

Thank you for taking part in elections while you are in the military or other uniformed service, or a civilian living outside the United States.

The information and resources on this page are intended to make participating in elections as easy and rewarding for you as possible. Here, you will learn the basic steps to become a military or overseas voter so you are eligible to vote when you are absent from your county while serving and/or living overseas and discover how state and federal laws work to protect your precious right to vote.

As a military or overseas voter who is registered to vote, there are several different ways you can request and receive your ballot and return your voted ballot and signed Military and Overseas Voter Return Envelope.

Register to Vote and/or Request a Ballot

Even if you are or were registered to vote in your county, in order to receive your election materials and vote when you are absent from your county while serving and/or living overseas, you need to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by completing the online voter registration application or by completing the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF).

When you complete your online voter registration application or your FPCA, you can choose to receive your ballot and the accompanying Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope mailed, faxed, or emailed to you. You may even be able to download them from your county elections official's website. Check the list below for the options in your county.

The FPCA, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, is available from the Federal Voting Assistance Program. Members of the military can also obtain an FPCA from their installation's Voting Assistance Officer. Civilian overseas voters can obtain an FPCA at any U.S. embassy or consulate. You can mail or fax your completed FPCA to your county elections official. If you mail the FPCA, postage is pre-paid in the U.S. mail, including the Military Postal System and State Department Pouch mail. If you are already registered to vote and are only submitting an FPCA to request a vote-by-mail ballot, you can email your completed and signed FPCA to your county elections official.

Return Your Voted Ballot and Signed Voter Return Envelope

Return your voted ballot and signed Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope to your county elections official. Mail or fax (under certain circumstances) your voted ballot and signed return envelope following the Secretary of State's online instructions under "Mailing Addresses and Fax Numbers for Military or Overseas Voters".

If mailing: Your voted ballot and signed return envelope must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 3 days after Election Day.

If faxing: If you are living outside the territorial limits of the United States or are called for military service within the United States on or after the final date to make application for a vote-by-mail ballot, you may return your ballot by fax, but it must be received by your county elections office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. If you decide to fax your voted ballot and signed Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope, you must also fax an "Oath of Voter" form to waive your right to a confidential vote. This oath is in addition to the voter's declaration that is on the Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope. Please use the oath form your county provides to you; however, many counties also accept the "Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) Alternative Form (PDF)". Please check with your county before using FVAP's Alternative Form.

Under California law, while you may receive a blank ballot by email, you may not return a voted ballot by email.