Voting is a constitutional right that American citizens eighteen years and older can freely exercise. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) covers all members of the Uniformed Services and their families, members of the merchant marine and their families, and US citizens who reside overseas, and assists them in exercising their right to vote.
Elections are managed individually by all 55 states and territories. This means that there are 55 sets of rules for absentee voting by UOCAVA citizens, but the basic steps are simple:
- Citizens register to vote and request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), and sending it to their state election official.
- The election official approves/disapproves the FPCA or requests additional information.
- If the FPCA is approved, the election official sends an absentee ballot.
- Qualified citizens vote by returning their ballot to the election official before the state’s voting deadline. A Back-up Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) may be used if your state’s voting deadline is less than 3 weeks away, and you have not received your official ballot.
Qualified U.S. citizens who reside overseas are eligible to vote by absentee ballot in their “legal state of residence”. For voting purposes, your legal state of residence is the address where you last resided immediately prior to your departure from the U.S. This residence remains valid even though you may no longer own property in the state and your intent to return to that state is uncertain.
U.S. citizens cannot vote at Embassies and Consulates overseas. The electoral process is administered by the states and citizens vote by sending an absentee ballot to their home state.
The Department of State, via Embassies and Consulates assists citizens to exercise their vote. Voting officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates:
- Provide citizens with information on the voting process;
- Post notices of upcoming elections;
- Notarize ballot materials;
- Mail properly sealed and addressed FPCAs and absentee ballots through the U.S. mail pouch; however, citizens are encouraged to submit their FPCAs and ballots via e-mail or fax to states that accept electronic submissions.
Note: Pouch mail may take over a month to reach the U.S. from Tajikistan. Vote early if you plan to mail your ballot.
The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Dushanbe, Tajikistan is available to answer questions about absentee voting. You may send your questions via e-mail to DushanbeConsular@state.gov or contact us by telephone at (992-37) 229-2300.
The official U.S. Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) at http://www.fvap.gov/