Military & Overseas

Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)

November 5, 2019 ABSENT UNIFORMED-SERVICE AND OVERSEAS CITIZENS ELIGIBLE TO USE THE FEDERAL WRITE-IN ABSENTEE BALLOT (FWAB)

This is an official notice of general election to be conducted in the Commonwealth of Virginia on November 5, 2019. If you are an absent military or overseas citizen eligible to vote in state and local elections, you may register to vote and submit an absentee ballot application electronically for a specific election or any elections up through the next year using the Department of Elections voter registration portal.  Please note that a driver’s license or identification card issued by the Virginia DMV is required to complete the process paperlessly.  If you do not have a DMV-issued ID, you may also apply by using the federal postcard application (FPCA), available at  www.fvap.gov. You can submit your FPCA by scanned email attachment to  info@elections.virginia.gov or via fax to (804) 371-0194. Detailed instructions are provided in the Virginia Voting Assistance Guide. FPCA’s are valid for all elections in the calendar year in which they are submitted and must be renewed annually.

If you do not receive your state ballot in time, you may vote using a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), available at www.fvap.gov. You can identify all of the state, local offices and, if applicable, ballot measures that, as of this date, are expected to be on the ballot by visiting the Candidate Lists and visit Elections Citizen Portal to view your voter registration status.

Active duty uniformed-service (and qualifying spouse or dependents) and overseas citizens are permitted to receive the ballot via email upon request. For more information, view our Guidelines for Voters that Request E-mail Ballots (.pdf) or contact your local elections office.

If you are a legal Virginia resident but are not yet registered to vote, or need to change your voter registration, you may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and apply for your absentee ballot at the same time. After you complete the FPCA, sign it and then you may either mail it to your local voter registration office, e-mail or fax it to your local voter registration office. You should complete this application (FPCA) before you complete any other forms or applications relating to voter registration and/or absentee voting. You may also register and request absentee ballots using the Virginia voter registration application and absentee ballot application linked on this page. However, using the FPCA is recommended for the convenience of a single form allowing electronic submission of registration by fax or email. Applicants with a Virginia DMV driver’s license or identification card may also be able to apply to register online through the Department of Elections website.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website provides a Virginia Voting Assistance Guide explaining how to complete your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). This guide provides dates for federal elections only. By submitting a complete Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in Virginia, you will be sent ballots for all elections in which you are eligible to vote through the end of the next calendar year. Federal forms and envelopes are available on the Election Materials page on www.fvap.gov.

Please note that any registered Virginia voter may visit the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) voter registration website to review his or her voter registration status, the status of his or her absentee ballot application, information on their elected representatives, and contact information for local elections office at any time.

Deadlines Applicable to Virginia Voters

  1. An applicant eligible under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) who is not currently registered in Virginia may simultaneously register to vote and request an Absentee Ballot by submitting a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) by mail, e-mail or fax.

    Non-military overseas citizens who are not currently registered to vote in Virginia must ensure a completed FPCA is received by the local election office by close of business on the final day of registration for the election, generally 22 days before an election, in order to be eligible to vote. Non-military overseas voters who no longer have a Virginia place of abode, will receive ballots for federal offices only, unless overseas employment information is provided (a qualifying spouse or dependent would provide that employment information).

    Active-duty uniformed-service voters, their spouses and dependents, may register to vote or update their voter registration by mail after the final day of registration using the FPCA, an FWAB, or the Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot applications approved by the State Board of Elections but must comply with the deadline for requesting ballots normally seven days before the election, with limited exceptions for emergencies. See Va. Code 24.2-419, 24.2-420.1, 24.2-705 and 24.2-705.1. A Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for a uniformed-service voter eligible for late registration, must be received at least seven days before the election in order for an official ballot to be sent by mail, email or fax. The FWAB may be used as backup if time is insufficient to receive and return an official ballot.

    NOTE: Active duty uniformed-service voters, qualifying family members, and overseas citizens temporarily residing outside the United States, are eligible for late registration in person up to and including the day of the election under certain circumstances. See §24.2-420.1.

  2. Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for applicants eligible under UOCAVA who are already registered in Virginia, or who are active-duty uniformed-service eligible for late registration, must be received by the local election office no later than 5:00 p.m. seven (7) days before the election (unless there is a qualifying emergency). FPCAs can be submitted by mail, e-mail or fax.
  3. In-person absentee voters have until the Saturday immediately before the election to vote an absentee ballot in-person at your local election office. Qualifying emergencies (e.g., hospitalization) allow applying to vote absentee through 5:00 p.m. the day before the election.

Using a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB)

In the event that a qualified absentee voter does not receive a requested absentee ballot in a timely manner, the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) serves as an emergency backup ballot. The FWAB is available to download from Federal Voting Assistance Program website: www.fvap.gov. Below are step-by-step instructions for completing the FWAB.

Step 1: Mark the ballot portion of the FWAB in the presence of your witness

  • The witness must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Use the Virginia Department of Elections Citizen Portal to see what is on your ballot.
  • Write down the title of the office or ballot initiative (unless provided) and then privately indicate your choice.

Step 2: Seal your ballot

  • Fold the ballot into thirds.
  • The ballot, and only the ballot, should be placed in a security envelope.
  • Seal the envelope.

Step 3: Complete the Voter’s Declaration/Affirmation in the presence of your witness

  • Virginia requires a full social security number in box 4.
  • Be sure the place your Virginia address in box 7 and your current overseas address in box 8.
  • Don’t forget to sign and date the affirmation at the bottom along with your witness.

Step 4: Prepare to return your FWAB

  • Place the completed Voter’s Declaration/Affirmation and the sealed security envelope containing your ballot into a return mailing envelope.
  • Seal the return mailing envelope and address it to the office of the general registrar for the locality in which you are registered to vote with "Attn: Absentee Voting Officer."
  • Include your name and return address.

Step 5: Mail your FWAB

  • Virginia does not allow return of any voted ballot electronically, by e-mail, or fax
  • In most cases, your voted ballot must be received by the close of polls on the day of the election. It is recommended that you use an expedited shipping method if you are returning a ballot in close proximity to the election.