Messages to U.S. Citizens
June 29, 2012
A July 4th Voting Reminder
Happy 4th of July! U.S. citizens around the globe will soon mark the 236th anniversary of our Nation’s Independence Day with family and community gatherings, food, and fireworks. For U.S. citizens living outside the United States, the 4th of July is an opportunity for all of us, regardless of political affiliation, to celebrate our shared values as citizens of the United States of America.
Have a say in our country’s future. One of our most treasured values is the right and the privilege to vote – to participate actively in our country’s democratic process. This November, U.S. citizens will elect a President, a Vice President, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House of Representatives. The U.S. Embassy in Portugal encourages all U.S. citizens to participate in this year’s elections, and stands ready to help you vote.
Almost all overseas U.S. citizens can vote. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now allow adult children who have never resided in the United States to vote using their parents’ state of voting residence. Details are available on the FVAP website at http://www.fvap.gov/reference/nvr-res.html.
Register and request a ballot. To vote, new laws require you to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) this calendar year. The FPCA allows you to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. If you haven’t yet done so, we urge you to do so now. The easiest way to complete it is online at www.FVAP.gov. Depending on your State’s rules, you then send it to your local election officials electronically or by mail.
Mailing guidance. Print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. You can drop off the postage-paid envelope (containing your FPCA) at the Embassy in Lisbon, the Consulate in Ponta Delgada, or the Consular Agency in Funchal. We will mail it back home for you without the need to pay international postage. If it’s easier for you to use Portugal’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.
You can also submit your completed ballot request and voter registration to the Embassy, which will then forward through the U.S. mail system. Submit the requests to this address in Portugal:
U.S. Embassy, American Citizen Services
Avenida das Forças Armadas
Address an outer envelope to the Embassy with Portuguese postage sufficient for delivery to Lisbon. Inside the outer envelope, include another envelope using the postage paid template (PDF - 95kb) and address it to the appropriate voting office in your state. The inner-envelope should secure your confidential registration and ballot. Bear in mind that delivery time to the United States via the Embassy could take anywhere from one to four weeks.
Need help? Here is a list of Independence Day events in Portugal where you can receive in-person assistance from our Embassy Voting Assistance Officers or private U.S. citizen volunteers. (Please note that these are not U.S. Government-sponsored events.)
The American Community Independence Day Picnic in Lisbon, sponsored by the American Club. Please see http://www.americancluboflisbon.com/ for more information.
The American International Club Independence Day Picnic in Porto. Please contact the Club directly for information (https://sites.google.com/site/americaninternationalclub/contacts).
The American Community Picnic in Funchal (this event is being held in a private residence – for further information, please contact the Consular Agency in Funchal)
(NOTE: It is acceptable for private U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens’ groups to collect FPCAs and deliver them to the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, the U.S. Consulate in Ponta Delgada, or the U.S. Consular Agency in Funchal on behalf of other eligible voters, as long as each FPCA is in its own U.S. postage-paid envelope.)
Make your vote count! Follow your State’s absentee voting procedures carefully. Send in your FPCA before the registration deadline – most states encourage voters to submit requests for the November elections by mid-August. When you get your ballot, vote and mail it promptly so it reaches local election officials by your State’s absentee ballot receipt deadline. Given the uncertainties of international mail delivery, don’t wait until the last minute to submit your FPCA!
Questions? If you have any questions about registering to vote, please contact Embassy Lisbon's Voting Assistance Officer at 217-702-122, or at VoteLisbon@state.gov.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: New absentee voting laws are in effect for the 2012 elections. You may no longer automatically receive ballots based on a previous absentee ballot request. All U.S. citizens outside the United States who want to vote by absentee ballot in U.S. elections should complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) every year. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election. No matter what State you vote in, you can now ask your local election officials to provide your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your State). You can now also confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. Be sure to include your email address on the form to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. This is the fastest and most reliable way to receive your ballot on time, and we strongly recommend every voter take advantage of it. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website at www.FVAP.gov.
The U.S. Embassy in Lisbon is located on Avenida das Forcas Armadas, in the neighborhood of Sete Rios near the Jardim Zoológico. Telephone: (351) 21 727-3300; fax: (351) 21 726-9109; Internet home page: http://lisbon.usembassy.gov/ . The emergency after hours telephone number is (351) 21 770-2222.
The U.S. Consulate in the Azores is located in the city of Ponta Delgada on the Island of Sao Miguel. The address is Av. Principe do Monaco, 6-2F, tel: (351) 296 282-216, fax: (351) 296 287-216; Internet home page: http://azores.usconsulate.gov/.
There is a part-time U.S. Consular Agency in Funchal, on the Island of Madeira, on Rua Alfandega, no 10-2, Room A-B, phone 351-291-235-636, fax 351-291-229-360; Internet site: http://portugal.usembassy.gov/consular-agency-funchal.html.
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