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People voting at a voting booth. Brought to you by USAGov

If you’re an American living abroad or a member of a military family outside your legal voting residence it doesn’t mean you have to put your vote on hold. It just means that your voting process will be a little different.

USAGov is committed to informing and making sure members of the military, their families, and Americans living outside the U.S. don’t miss the chance to vote in 2018. Follow this Voting Guide for Military Members and for Americans Abroad:

Step 1: Register

No matter which state you’re from or where you’ll be voting, you must register by your state’s deadline. Complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).This will allow you to cast your vote from outside the U.S. Remember, your family can also participate. If a military spouse or eligible family member lives outside the legal voting jurisdiction, they can vote absentee in all federal elections.

Step 2: Receive your ballot and send your vote home

Make sure your vote counts. Once your ballot arrives and you vote, mail it back on time and to the right address. Each state has its own process. Some have deadlines for receiving the ballot and others set a deadline for when it should be mailed.

If you requested an absentee ballot and haven’t received it at least 30 days before the election, you can vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). You can fill in and print out the PDF version or use the online assistant. The FWAB serves as a write-in backup ballot that can be used for the election.

Step 3: Make sure the ballot arrives

Contact your state to make sure they received your ballot and it’s counted on Election Day.

Step 4: Sit back and watch democracy at work

Once you’ve gone through the whole process, you can follow the results on Election Day and witness American democracy at work. If you run into a problem at any point in the registration and absentee voting process, you can contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) hotline toll-free: 1-800-438-VOTE (8683), DSN: 425-1584; call one of their offices around the world; or get in touch by postal or e-mail with any issues. If you’re a military member, you can also contact the Service Voting Action Officer that corresponds to your branch.

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