Message to U.S. Citizens – U.S. Embassy Lilongwe, Malawi (June 18, 2020)
Event: Registering to vote and submitting a ballot is fast, easy and can be done from anywhere in the world!
Start by confirming your voter registration with your state. Some states require absentee voters to register annually so you may need to re-register. Go to FVAP.gov to connect to your state’s voter portal to register to vote, request a ballot, and more. Once you confirm your registration, follow a few simple steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections:
- Request Your Ballot: Most states provide the option to request ballots through their state election portals, which you can easily access via FVAP.gov. You can also choose to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF 229KB). The completion of the FPCA allows you to request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (President, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives) including primaries and special elections during the calendar year in which it is submitted. FPCA (PDF 229KB) forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in every U.S. state and territory. FVAP’s easy online assistant can assist you with completing the FPCA. Whether you request your ballot through your state’s portal or the FPCA, we encourage you to select the option to receive your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax) when available. This is the fastest way for you to get your ballot and ensures you will have it in time to return a completed form before your state’s deadline.
- Receive and Complete Your Ballot: States are required to send out ballots 45 days before a regular election for federal office, and states generally send out ballots at least 30 days before primary elections. Most states allow you to confirm your ballot delivery online.
- Return Your Completed, Signed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or you can drop off completed voting materials at U.S. Embassy Lilongwe on any business day between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please note that it can take up to four to eight weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent from the Embassy. You will need to place your ballots in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. postage and address it to the relevant local election authorities. If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact U.S. Embassy Lilongwe’s Voting Assistance Officer at VoteLilongwe@state.gov.
Please note that routine consular services at U.S. Embassy Lilongwe remain suspended. We hope to resume these services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. The pandemic disrupted international diplomatic mail shipments; for those that will submit a ballot by mail, we urge you to submit your ballots early. If you plan to drop off a mail-in ballot at the Embassy, please first contact us at VoteLilongwe@state.gov.
Researching the Candidates and Issues Online: Go to the FVAP links page for helpful resources to aid your research of candidates and issues. Non-partisan information about candidates, their voting records, and their positions on issues are widely available and easy to obtain online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP’s Voting Alerts (firstname.lastname@example.org). FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebook (@DODFVAP), Twitter (@FVAP), and Instagram (@fvapgov).
- U.S. Embassy Lilongwe, Malawi – Area 40, City Center, Lilongwe, Malawi
- U.S. citizens with emergencies: +265-1-773-166 Ext. 3431
- Outside of office hours: +265-999-960-178
- E-mail: LilongweConsular@state.gov
- Website: https://mw.usembassy.gov/services/
- State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts.
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