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Voting Overseas

Final Opportunities to Return Voted Ballots

Embassies and consulates are not polling places.  The majority of states require voted ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 4.  U.S. citizens who want to participate in the 2014 U.S. elections should already have returned their absentee ballots to their local election officials.  U.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States.

Never received your ballot?  If you have registered to vote and requested your absentee ballot prior to your state’s registration and absentee ballot request deadlines but have not yet received your ballot, should immediately complete and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to ensure your vote reaches election officials by your state’s deadline.  If your regular ballot arrives later, go ahead and complete and return it as well.  Your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot will only be counted if your regular ballot does not reach local election officials by your state’s deadline.  Your vote will not be counted twice.

Ballot not yet sent to local election officials?  If you wish to participate in this election and have not yet sent your ballot to your local election official, you should consider returning your ballot to the United States via an express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL.  Some states or counties may allow you to return your voted ballot electronically.  Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before November 4 prior to payment and shipment.  Check your state’s voting procedures at for guidance.

Returning your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot by email or fax.  If you have previously registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot but it has not yet arrived the following states allow voters to use email or fax to send signed, voted Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots to local election officials:  Arizona, California (fax only), Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii (fax only), Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska (paper copy must also be mailed), Nevada, New Jersey (paper copy must also be mailed), New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon (paper copy must also be mailed), South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.  Check your state’s voting procedures at for guidance.

Returning your ballot by mail.  Ballots sent via regular international mail at this late date are unlikely to reach local election officials by state ballot receipt deadlines.  If you still wish to send your voted ballot via mail, place your voted ballot in a U.S. postage-paid envelope addressed to your local election officials.  Drop it off at the Embassy, and we’ll send it back home for you without the need to pay international postage.  If you can’t visit the Embassy in person, ask a friend or colleague drop it off for you.  If it’s easier for you to use France’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery. 

If you would like to drop off your voted ballot completed or Federal Post Card Application for delivery to the United States via diplomatic pouch, free of charge, the U.S. Embassy in Paris accepts these documents: normal transit time from Paris to the United States is 10 days.

Returning Your Completed Ballot:

If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can do so free of charge at the Embassy.  They must be in either U.S. postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and must also be addressed to the relevant local election officials. 

Please do not mail any voting materials to the Embassy, they will be returned to you.  

For the fastest service, use the French Postal System:  Place French postage on your completed, signed, voted ballot or FPCA, and mail it directly to the local election officials in the state where you vote.  Make sure USA or Etats-Unis is indicated at the end of the address of your U.S. board of elections.  Then just mail it from any French post office box. 

Embassy Paris:  You may drop your signed, sealed voted ballot or FPCA registration, in person at the Embassy in Paris.  Voted ballots and FPCAs must be addressed to the appropriate county board of elections in the United States.

We recommend that you check your state’s ballot deadline information at under Voters Start Here.  Each state provides guidelines indicating when the voted ballot must arrive in the United States, since some states allow overseas votes to arrive after Election Day as long as they are postmarked on Election Day. The Embassy can postmark your voted ballots accordingly. 

See example here for the state of Illinois:

Dropping off your voted, signed, sealed ballot envelope:

1.   Go to the Consular Section entrance of the Embassy with your voted ballot or FPCA, weekdays between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm;

2.    announce you would like to drop off voting materials;

3.    present suitable ID (preferably a U.S. passport);

4.    present the sealed registration or ballot;

5.    the ballot will be screened (but not opened) by security;

6.    after the security check, the ballot will be forwarded to the diplomatic post office via the American Citizen Services Section. 

c)    Fax, E-mail, or Internet:  Some states now allow these options, however, they may also require you to still mail in the signed paper ballot. 

d)    Returning ballots via express courier service: Voters can hire express courier companies such as UPS, DHL, and FedEx to return voted ballots. Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before Election Day prior to payment and shipment.

HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING.  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.

Need help?  You can get in-person assistance from our Embassy Voting Assistance Officers or private U.S. citizen volunteers.

Have Questions?  Please contact the Paris Voting Assistance Officer by phone at or by email at:

Confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.  Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website at


Federal Voting Assistance Program

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