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U.S. Embassy Berlin
Message for U.S. Citizens
Completing and Returning Absentee Ballots
1 October 2012

Absentee ballots already delivered to overseas voters.  Every U.S. citizen who requested an absentee ballot and selected the fax or email delivery option should have it by now.  Please vote and take steps to return your voted ballot promptly so your vote will count.  See instructions below.

Returning your ballot by mail.  Place your voted ballot in a U.S. postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials.  Drop it off at the Embassy, and we’ll send it back home for you without the need to pay international postage.  If you can’t visit the Embassy in person, ask a friend or colleague drop it off for you.  If it’s easier for you to use Germany's postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.  If time is tight, you may want to use a private courier service (e.g., FedEx, UPS, or DHL) to meet your state's ballot receipt deadline.

In order to mail your election material through the Embassy in Berlin, please do the following:

  1. Go to the Consulate entrance (Clayallee 170 14191 Berlin) during regular business hours with your registration or ballot;
  2. Inform the guard that you would like to drop off voting materials;
  3. Present suitable identification (preferably a passport);
  4. Wait for the representative from the mailroom to arrive;
  5. Witness the screening procedure and observe mail handler take possession of ballot.

Please be aware that it takes approximately 2-3 weeks for mail to reach its final destination in the United States with this method. As the time of the election approaches, please consider using the German postal system or a private courier to make sure your ballot reaches its destination in time.   

Returning your ballot by email, fax, or upload.  Some states allow these options, but may also require you to still mail in the signed paper ballot.  Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's website at

Haven’t received your ballot yet?  Use the emergency write-in ballot.  U.S. citizens who requested an absentee ballot but haven’t received it should go to to complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.  Follow the above guidance for returning your ballot.  If you later receive your regular absentee ballot, vote and return it immediately.  Local election officials will count just one ballot per voter, and will use the regular ballot if received by your state’s ballot receipt deadline.

Forgot to register or request an absentee ballot?  Act immediately!  There are three options.

Option #1:  Register and request a ballot today using the federal post card application at  Select the electronic ballot delivery option, include your email address (and fax number) and send it to local election officials in your state.  Almost every state lets you submit it by email or fax.  Once your application is processed they will send you your ballot via fax or email depending on your state.  Vote as soon as you receive the blank ballot.  Registration deadlines vary and some are as early as October 7, so check your state’s requirements carefully.

Option#2:  Follow the instructions in Option #1, but also complete and send in a Federal Write-in Ballot at the same time to make sure your vote is counted.  This option may be the best one for first-time voters if your state requires you to submit your Federal Post Card Application by mail.  Vote and submit your regular absentee ballot if/when it arrives.  Local election officials will count just one ballot per voter, and will use the regular ballot if it's received by the ballot receipt deadline.

Option #3:  Voters from the following states can use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot as a combined voter registration form, absentee ballot request, and absentee ballot:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.  (NOTE: This form must reach your local election officials by your state's absentee ballot request deadline or voter registration deadline, whichever is first.)

Returning your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot by mail.  Follow the guidance above for returning your ballot by mail.

Returning your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot by email or fax.  The following states allow voters to email or fax their signed, voted Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots back to local election officials:  Arizona, California (fax only), Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.  (NOTE:  see instructions at for faxing or emailing your voted ballot.)

Need help?  You can get assistance from our Embassy Voting Assistance Officers through our Facebook Absentee Voting Week event.  Please see the Embassy’s Facebook page at:!/events/143348639144877/ 

Have Questions?  Please contact Berlin's Voting Assistance Officer at

Confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.  Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website at