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Voting from Israel!

I Voted From Israel
I Voted From Israel

This is a U.S. Presidential election year — all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 34 of the 100 Senate seats, and 11 gubernatorial seats are up for grabs in November. U.S. citizens have the right to vote in primary and general elections, no matter where in the world they live! If you’re a U.S. citizen, dual-national, and will be 18 on November 5, 2024, you have the right to vote from abroad in US elections — including in the November 2024 elections!

As a U.S. citizen, you can register to vote from abroad while living, working, or traveling overseas by submitting one form — the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). It doesn’t matter if you were registered to vote before you left the U.S., how long you’ve lived outside the U.S., or if you’ve never resided in the U.S. at all. You have the right to vote!

The U.S. State Department recommends, “all U.S. citizens living abroad complete and submit a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) annually, to ensure you remain on your state’s voter rolls and to ensure your local election office has your up-to-date contact information.” Vote From Abroad provides all the information, forms, and support help in one place to make voting easy!

 Please note that there is NO IN-PERSON VOTING in Israel for U.S. elections! 

KEY POINTS FOR VOTING
  • Request your overseas ballot now!  www.votefromabroad.org 
  • Ask on the request form (FPCA) that your ballot be sent to you by email
  • Submit your request form by email, if your state allows  
  • Return your voted ballot electronically (email, upload or fax), if your state allows 
  • If your state requires you to mail back your ballot:
    • Request your ballot NOW, so you’ll receive it on Sept 21 when states start sending overseas ballots out (45 days before the election)
    • Download and vote your ballot as soon as you receive it
    • Use the diplomatic pouch (by Oct 2nd) or use a courier service to sent it back
  • Track your request form and your ballot
  • Questions?  hstone3@wellesley.edu

 

What’s covered in this article: 

  1. Registering to vote and requesting your ballot
  2. Confirming your request has been accepted
  3. Receiving your ballot
  4. Oct 1 and the ballot hasn’t arrived? 
  5. Voting your ballot
  6. Returning your ballot
  7. Checking twice to prevent mistakes
  8. Confirming your ballot’s arrival
  9. What to do if you encounter difficulties
  10. Getting your “I Voted from Israel” Stickers 

 

1. Registering to vote and requesting your ballot

The first step is to request your ballot, and if need be, register to vote from abroad. You should do this every election year to ensure you remain on your state’s overseas voter rolls and to ensure your local election office has your up-to-date contact information. It’s important to register as an absentee voter from abroad because the ballots of US citizens voting from abroad have special protections and are different from the standard absentee ballot. 

Go to votefromabroad.org to fill out your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) absentee ballot request — it takes 5-10 minutes! If you’re not registered to vote, the FPCA also serves as a voter registration form. Choose the option to receive ballots by email.

The second step is to submit the FPCA absentee ballot request form to your local election office in the United States. Most states allow you to submit your FPCA directly from votefromabroad.org without the need to print it out. But some states require that you submit your completed form by email attachment, fax, or postal mail. State deadlines and submission methods can be found here.

If you have any questions while filling out your request form, go to the Vote from Abroad FAQ section or type your question in the website’s chatbox (red circle in the bottom right-hand corner of each screen). Or you can email us at voterhelp@democratsabroad.org 

 

Watch a video on how to use www.votefromabroad.org in English.

2. Confirming your request has been accepted  

After submitting your FPCA absentee ballot request form, call or email your Local Election Official (LEO) to confirm they have received it and will be sending your ballot. Your LEO’s contact information is listed in the instructions generated when you fill out your FPCA form at Vote from Abroad. You can also look up their contact info here

Most states provide a website where you can verify your voter status. To find your state’s website, click here and scroll down to “Where Is My Ballot?”

 

3. Receiving your ballot 

Your overseas absentee ballot is not your standard absentee ballot back home! Thanks to the MOVE Act, all states must send FPCA-requested  absentee ballots to overseas voters no later than 45 days before a federal election — this year that’s September 21, 2024

And, if requested, all states must send overseas voters their ballot by email.

You don’t need to wait for ballots to arrive on September 21. If you’re worried your ballot won’t arrive in time for you to return it by the deadline, send in a Backup Ballot NOW. The Backup Ballot (Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot or FWAB) is specifically for overseas voters who are concerned they won’t receive their official ballot in time to return it by the deadline. All details about the Backup Ballot can be found here.

 

4. Your ballot hasn’t arrived? 

Check your spam folder. Still no ballot? Contact your local election official here and confirm they’ve sent your ballot to you. Go to votefromabroad.org if you need to send in a new FPCA absentee ballot request form.

If you haven’t received your ballot by October 1 and your state requires postal mail return, we recommend you send in a Backup Ballot to make sure your vote gets to your state in time. All details about the Backup Ballot can be found here.

 

5. Voting your ballot 

It’s easy to get informed about candidates, ballot initiatives, and judicial candidates and important to vote your ballot completely. State and local races are critical! 

The simplest way is to vote for Democrats straight down the ballot. Some elected positions do not list a party affiliation, like school boards, judges, and others. To determine who to vote for in those cases, you can do the following: 

  • Google your county’s local Democratic Party
  • Go to the League of Women Voters personalized ballot service 
  • Go to Ballotpedia – Choose your state
  • Google the candidate’s name to find their campaign website

 

6. There are lots of ways to return your ballot! 

Remember! Only use a mail service if you cannot return your ballot electronically 

Ballot return methods – by email, online, postal mail, fax – vary by state. Always return your ballot as quickly as possible, but especially if your state only allows postal mail return. Always read the instructions that came with your ballot carefully! Find your state’s ballot return methods here.

If your state allows email, online upload or fax  for ballot return, please use these options as they’re not subject to loss or delay! Here is more information on fax submission.

If your state requires postal mail return, see info below on options from Israel.

New Jersey Voters: Please note that New Jersey allows for email or fax returns, but requires that the ballot ALSO be sent by postal mail.

New York Voters: Here are instructions on How to fold the New York State General Election ballot.

Need help scanning your ballot?

 Watch this video on how to scan using your smartphone.

If you don’t have a scanning app on your phone, you can use Adobe Scan mobile app for iPhone & Android

International Postal Service:  

If your state requires postal mail ballot return, one option is to use express international mail from the Israel Postal Service. Please remember mail service can be slow and send your ballot as soon as possible!

You should – and some states require you – to deliver your ballot on or before Election Day.   Find out your state’s requirements here.

 

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate diplomatic pouch: The U.S. Embassy in Israel requests that ballots sent by the diplomatic post be dropped off no later than four (4) weeks before the ballot due date. The diplomatic pouch leaves weekly on Tuesday mornings.  Ballots should be dropped off no later than Monday to be included in the weekly pouch shipment. This means that the LAST DAY to drop of ballots for the diplomatic pouch this year is Monday, September 30, 2024, to be included in the diplomatic pouch shipment on Tuesday, October 1, 2024 (a full month before the November 5, 2024 election)You will need to place your ballots in a U.S. postage paid return envelopes (usually provided with your ballot) or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage. You can download a free U.S. postage-paid return envelope template at FVAP.gov.

Please be aware that using the diplomatic pouch is very slow. It can take weeks for your ballot to reach its final destination. Use a Back-up Ballot to make the diplomatic pouch deadline if your regular ballot hasn’t arrived. Find out more here.

 

The U.S. Embassy address in Jerusalem is:  14 Flusser Street, Jerusalem

The U.S. Embassy Branch Office address in Tel Aviv is: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv


Important Note regarding drop-off ballots:


Voters are permitted to drop off ballots without an appointment at the American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem or Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv.  Ballots can be dropped off at the drop box at American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy Jerusalem from 8:00AM-2:00PM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or at the Embassy Branch Office Tel Aviv from 8:00AM-2:00PM on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. No appointment is necessary.

More information is on the Embassy website  

Courier Service:

If your state requires postal mail ballot return, the quickest option is to use a courier service like DHL, Federal Express, etc. 

Even with expedited courier services though, ballots still take several days to get to the United States. Please send your ballot as soon as possible! Do not wait! You should – and some states require you – to deliver your ballot on or before Election Day.   Find out your state’s requirements here

Courier services cannot send to a P.O. Box! Be sure to confirm a street address with your local election official if a P.O. Box is the return address on your ballot. 

7. Checking twice to prevent mistakes 

When filling out and packaging your ballot, don’t forget to review the instructions carefully. Don’t let human error spoil your ballot!

Regardless of how you send in your ballot, remember that you – the voter – must be the one who places it “in the mail.” In some states, it is unlawful for any other person to handle your voted ballot, even if it is sealed. Need help? Contact us at: hstone3@wellesley.edu

 

8. Confirming your ballot’s arrival at your local election office in the United States 

Once you’ve sent your ballot, follow up with your local election official to make sure that it arrived and will be counted. Please do not just assume that your ballot has made it! 

The easiest way to ensure your ballot has arrived is to go to “Track Your Ballot” on your state’s website. You can also look up your local election office’s contact details here and contact them directly. They may be experiencing a high volume of calls, so you may need to be persistent to get through to someone.

 

9. Having trouble? Need help? 

We understand that the voting process to some states can be confusing — that’s why we’re here to help! Send us an email at  hstone3@wellesley.edu

Or, a one-on-one live voter help is just a Zoom away! Click in to ZoomTheVote, hosted and staffed by experienced VoteFromAbroad voter helpers, from anywhere in the world. Please share widely

 

10. Get your “I Voted from Israel”sticker

Thank you for voting!  If you would like to print an “I Voted from Israel” sticker go here.

About the Author
Heather Stone is a frequent commentator on Israeli and international media about Democratic Party politics in the United States. Heather is visually impaired following brain surgery in 2017 and is learning to navigate the world differently. She worked for leading law firms in Tel Aviv for more than 20 years, and has expertise in international mergers and acquisitions law.
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