Military and Overseas Voters
First and foremost, we would like to thank you, the military voters, for your service to our country. To all U.S. citizens overseas, thank you for your interest in your country’s elections while far away. (Federal voting law defines “overseas” as anywhere outside the United States. This includes Canada and Mexico.) Military and overseas voters are welcome to use the regular registration and early voting by mail process (also known as absentee voting) available to all voters away from their home county on Election Day. However, there are also special provisions for you.
The process is as easy as ABC:
Fill out and file your FPCA (Federal Postcard Application) as soon as possible but no later than a week before Election Day.
Receive your ballot or use the FWAB (Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot).
Cast your vote by returning your marked ballot by Election Day, or the 5th day after if voting from overseas.
Who can use the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) and why?
- Active duty military, spouses, and dependents (voting from outside the home Texas county)
- U. S. Citizens (nonmilitary) temporarily overseas* away from the home Texas county
- U. S. Citizens (nonmilitary) permanently overseas* away from the (previous) home Texas county
* Federal law defines “overseas” as anywhere outside the United States. If you are not one of these voters, you need the regular early voting by mail procedures.
What and where is the FPCA form?
Here are two resources for obtaining an automated FPCA form:
What does the FPCA form do?
- Registers you onto the permanent voter rolls 30 days after receipt by the county (unless voter marks indefinitely away / do not intend to return)
- Functions as an application for ballot by mail and gives you temporary registration status for certain offices
- If voter marks indefinitely away (older form) / do not intend to return (newer form), voter receives federal ballot only
When is the FPCA deadline?
- General rule: deadline is the 7th day before Election Day (earlier is recommended)
- Here are the deadlines calculated for upcoming elections in 2012.
Where do you send the FPCA?
- General rule: the Early Voting Clerk’s office
- County contact information
How may you send the (completed signed) FPCA to the clerk?
- Hard copy by mail
- Common or contract carrier
- Fax (if the Early Voting Clerk’s office has a fax machine)
- E-mail (scanned image of signed form)
How do you receive the ballot from the clerk?
Authorized method the voter requested on the FPCA:
- Hard copy by mail (default method if nothing else requested)
- E-mail (unmarked ballot) (if election includes federal offices )
- Common or contract carrier (if paid for by voter)
- Unmarked ballots may not be faxed under Texas law, regardless of voter’s status.
Did the county or other election official send my ballot?
C. Casting and Counting
How do you return the ballot to the Early Voting Clerk?
- Hard copy by mail, or common or contract courier (like any other ballot by mail)
- IF from military voter (or spouse or dependent) in hostile fire pay / imminent danger pay / combat zone, may be faxed using authorized channels.
- Marked ballots may not be e-mailed under Texas law, regardless of voter’s status.
When is the deadline for returning the ballot?
- Regular deadline: receipt by 7:00 p.m. Election Day
- Deadline for voters voting from overseas location: receipt by 5th day after Election Day
Did the county or other election official receive my marked ballot?