Frequently Asked Questions - Military and Overseas Voter Information

When will you receive your ballot and Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope?

California county elections officials are required to send ballots and return envelopes to military and overseas voters between 60 and 45 days before an election.

How do you return your voted ballot and signed Military or Overseas 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: You may return your ballot by fax if you are a military or overseas voter living outside the territorial limits of the United States or the District of Columbia, or you are a member of the military called for military service within the United States seven or less days before Election Day. 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.

After you have faxed your voted ballot, signed return envelope, and oath, you are encouraged to also return your voted ballot and signed return envelope by mail or in person, if possible.

What if you have not received your ballot and Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope?

If you registered online or mailed or faxed your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at least 30 days before the election and have not received a vote-by-mail ballot and return envelope two weeks before Election Day, you may want to contact your county elections official regarding the status of your request. You may also use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote in any election in which you, as a military or overseas voter, are qualified to vote. Please see below for further information about FWABs.

You can also vote by using the county Voter Information Guide you received from your county elections official.

A list of California's county elections offices and their contact information is available on our Military and Overseas Voters Information web page.

Where can you get a FWAB and how do you return it?

A FWAB is available through Voting Assistance Officers at military installations, as well as at U.S. embassies and consulates. It is also available on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website for you to fill out, print, and send to your county elections official.

If there is not enough time to return the completed FWAB by mail, then print, sign, date, and fax it with the Voter's Declaration/Affirmation and Oath of Voter to the county elections official so that it will be received before the polls close in California at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

If you receive your vote-by-mail ballot and return envelope after submitting the completed FWAB (and/or county Voter Information Guide), you may also vote and return the vote-by-mail ballot and signed return envelope. If you return all three ballots by the deadline, only the vote-by-mail ballot will be counted.

Can't find the answer to your question here?

Answers to other questions often asked by military and overseas voters are on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.