An official website of the United States government

How to Register as an Absentee Voter
August 21, 2020

Participate in Absentee Voting Week and exercise your right to vote by following these steps for the 2020 U.S. elections!

The 2020 general election is coming up, and as a U.S. citizen in Colombia, you have the right to vote! To do so, you must first register as an absentee voter to receive your ballot. These registration deadlines are approaching quickly, so fill out your registration today.

To get started, you should take the following steps today:

Check your local state requirements

The rules governing registration for an absentee ballot and submission of voting materials will vary from state to state. Check the website for your local state election official for more information. Alternatively, the website for the Federal Voting Assistance Program – www.FVAP.gov – contains state-by-state information.

Complete a Federal Post Card Application

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to receive your ballot this fall. The FPCA allows you to register to vote and to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices. Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA. The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov (the Federal Voting Assistance Program website) is an easy way to complete the FPCA. The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign. No matter which state you vote in, we encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state).

Submit your FPCA

You have several ways of submitting your completed FPCA. Check your instructions carefully, as states differ in the how they receive these submissions.

  • Electronic: Many states accept the electronic return of FPCAs. Consult your local election official website or the voter guide on FVAP.gov for options for submission by fax, email, or internet for your state. We strongly recommend that you take advantage of electronic options if they are available.
  • Express courier: You can send your FPCA directly to your local election official via professional courier services such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS. (Note that FedEx does not deliver to P.O. Boxes.) We do not recommend using local mail services in Colombia to send your FPCA.
  • Embassy drop-off: If you are in Bogota, you or someone else can drop off your FPCA, sealed with sufficient postage, at the U.S. Embassy at Carrera 45 No. 24B-27. We will forward it via diplomatic mail to the local election official to which is it addressed.
  • Embassy mail: Alternately, you can place your FPCA in an envelope addressed to local election official, with sufficient postage or in a postage-paid envelope. Take this sealed, postage-paid envelope and put it inside a second envelope that is addressed to:

U.S. Embassy Bogota
American Citizen Services
Attention: Voting Assistance Officer
Carrera 45 No. 24B-27
Bogota, D.C
Colombia 11132

Send us the entire package to us, and we will send your FCPA to your election official through the Embassy’s diplomatic mail.

Submit your ballot

You should receive your blank ballot around 45 days before the November 3 general election (September 19, 2020). Stay tuned for further guidance from Embassy Bogota during voting season on how to cast your ballot!

Your vote counts

Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1%. All states are required to count every absentee ballot so long as they are valid and reach local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.

Be an educated voter. Check out the FVAP page for helpful resources on candidates and issues. To receive information by email about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (vote@fvap.gov). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook and Twitter.

If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the U.S. Embassy Bogota Voting Assistance Officer at VoteBogota@state.gov. Embassy Bogota also has plenty of information on voting from Colombia on the Voting page of our website: https://co.usembassy.gov/voting/.