It’s almost 2016, and here in the United States, we’re already well into campaign season. No matter what party your assignee affiliates themselves with, they’ll need to know the basics of how to make sure their vote is counted—even from overseas.
Today, we’re taking a look at how assignees can register for absentee ballots, return their ballots and make sure that they can still take part in the political system from far away.
Absentee voting basics
It’s essential that assignees complete voter registration requirements for absentee voting as soon as possible. Direct them to the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) to register to vote (if necessary) and then request a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to start the absentee voting process.
Your assignee will need to check their state’s regulations regarding absentee voting. Deadlines to request and return ballots differ by state, and those deadlines may also be different depending on whether they’re voting in a primary or a general election, and whether they are voting in a national or state election. With the presidential primary coming up soon in some states, make sure your assignee is ready to go.
Warn your assignee that requesting their absentee ballot by mail may lead to issues: it can easily get lost or arrive after the election is already over. Instead, encourage them to request their ballot online. It’s trackable and guaranteed to reach them at least 45 days before Election Day.
Returning an absentee ballot
The acceptable process for sending in an absentee ballot varies from state to state, so make sure your assignee is clear on their guidelines. In general, though, they have a number of options. If there’s enough time before the deadline, they can return the form by mail. An easier solution is to drop off their ballot at the closest U.S. Embassy, inside a postage-paid envelope and addressed to their local election officials. (These envelopes are available at the FVAP website). Even easier is to fax or email their ballot back to their home state, although only some states allow this method.
Even if your assignee registers on time, things may still go wrong. If they still haven’t received a ballot 30 days before the election, help them complete and submit a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Again, they can contact the local embassy or go online to fill in and send this ballot back. If your assignee does end up getting their ballot later, tell them to fill it out and send it back as well—the FWAB is only counted if the regular ballot doesn’t reach their local election officials by the deadline.
Whether your assignee is ready for Hillary, feeling the Bern, Team Trump, betting on Ben Carson or still holding out hope that Joe Biden will enter the race, it’s easier than ever to make sure their voice is heard—no matter where in the world they are.
Looking for more resources on making sure every assignee is safe, secure and prepared to take on their assignment? Check out our HR Manager’s Guide to Global Relocation.