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Military & Overseas Absentee Voting

Military and overseas voters may now choose to receive their ballots for Federal offices either electronically or by regular U.S. mail. Please click here for more information.

Military and other overseas citizens are welcome to use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail. However, there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States. In addition to this web page, the Federal Voting Assistance Program web site has information for these voters:  www.fvap.gov.

For elections for county, state and federal offices, absentee ballot applications and completed absentee ballots should be hand delivered or mailed to the Absentee Election Manager for your county. You may find the address for your county's Absentee Election Manager here.

Qualifying To Vote

In order to vote in Alabama, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • You must be a United States Citizen
  • You must live in Alabama (or you must have maintained Alabama as your legal residence; for U.S. citizens residing overseas, Alabama must have been your last place of residence prior to moving overseas)
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • You must not have been convicted of a disqualifying felony (unless your voting rights have been restored; see the list of disqualifying felony convictions here)
  • You must not have been legally declared "mentally incompetent" by a court (unless your rights have been restored)

Registering To Vote

WHEN:   You may apply for voter registration on the same day you move into Alabama, if you decide to make this your legal residence. If you are an Alabama resident stationed away from home, you should begin the voter registration process as soon as possible in the election year in order for the application to go through the mail and processing system with extra time for correcting any errors or omissions.

HOW:   The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) is the primary form to use to register to vote. (It can also be used to request an absentee ballot at the same time). The FPCA may be obtained from a military member's Unit Voting Assistance Officer or from the Federal Voting Assistance Program's website or by calling the Secretary of State's office toll-free at 1-800-274-VOTE (8683).  U.S. citizens may also obtain the form from the Federal Voting Assistance Program's web site or by calling the Secretary of State's office toll-free at 1-800-274-VOTE (8683).

WHERE:   In addition of the Secretary of State's office, the following locations provide voter registration services to their clients:

  • The Board of Registrars office in your Alabama county of residence
  • Armed forces recruiting stations
  • Department of Human Resources
  • State and local government offices when applying for Rehabilitation Services, WIC, Medicaid, or SNAP and TANF.
  • Offices of Probate Judges and License Commissioners
  • Public libraries, colleges, and universities


Voting By Absentee Ballot

The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) is the primary form for obtaining an absentee ballot. The FPCA may be obtained from a military member's Unit Voting Assistance Officer or from the Federal Voting Assistance Program's website or by calling the Secretary of State's office toll-free at 1-800-274-VOTE (8683). 

U.S. citizens residing overseas may also obtain the form from the Federal Voting Assistance Program's web site or by calling the Secretary of State's office toll-free at 1-800-274-VOTE (8683).

Electronic Ballot Delivery

Military members (and their spouses and dependents) and U.S. citizens residing overseas can receive their absentee ballot electronically by properly requesting electronic ballot transmission on the absentee ballot application and providing an email address. 

Electronic Ballot Submission

If located outside the territorial limits of the United States, military members (and their spouses and dependents) and U.S. citizens residing overseas can also return their voted ballots electronically. To qualify for electronic ballot submission, be sure that your absentee ballot application (e.g., the FPCA) reflects that you reside in a foreign country.

Returning your Absentee Ballot

Regardless of how you receive your absentee ballot, mark your vote(s) and return the ballot without delay. The ballot may be returned by mail or commercial carrier (i.e., UPS, FedEx, DHL) or electronically (as noted above) if you are located in foreign country.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by Uniformed Services members on active duty, members of the merchant marine, and their spouses or dependents under the Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which applies to primary, primary runoff, general or special elections for county, state or federal offices and for proposed constitutional amendments or other referenda. You can use this FWAB whether you are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that you are away from your voting residence for service-related activities. You must apply for a regular ballot early enough for your local election officials to receive the request at least 5 DAYS before the election. Then if you do not receive your regular ballot in time, you may use the FWAB. Your FWAB must be postmarked no later than Election Day and received by your local voting official in Alabama no later than noon on the seventh day after Election Day.

Your Unit Voting Assistance Officer can assist you with this and other voting procedures or problems.


Making Sure Your Ballot Counts

  1. Request your absentee ballot as EARLY as possible. However, election officials must receive your FPCA at least 5 days before Election Day.
  2. Make sure your local election officials have your current mailing address.
  3. Fill in all the information completely and take care to assure that it will be easy to read.
  4. Sign and date all election materials.
  5. Have the proper witnesses sign the affidavit on the outside of the absentee ballot return envelope.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When must my voted ballot be received in order to be counted?
A. The deadline for receipt of UOCAVA ballots for primary, primary runoff, general, or special elections is noon on the 7th day following the election, where such UOCAVA ballots are postmarked by the day of the primary, primary runoff, general, or special election.

Q. How can I get help if I have questions about the voting process?
A. Contact your Unit Voting Assistance Officer. If you have access to a computer, email the Elections Division of the Alabama Secretary of State. You may also log on to the website of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (at www.fvap.gov), which provides information for servicemen and women and U.S. citizens residing overseas. The FVAP also helps all military personnel with access to a DSN phone. Dial toll-free DSN 425-1584.

Q. Most of the instructions refer to my legal voting residence and my county of residence. As a member of the armed forces who has been transferred, what is my official residence?
A. For voting purposes, your residence can be either the place you last resided before entering service, or it can be your new legal residence. Military and family members may change their legal residence each time they change permanent duty stations, or they may choose to retain their original residence. Consult a legal officer before changing residence, because other factors besides voting must be considered.

Q. I know the city that is considered my residence, but what if I don't know the name of the county?
A. The Alabama Secretary of State website has a City/County Inquiry page which allows citizens to find their county by choosing their city name. You may also call the office of the Alabama Secretary of State toll-free at 1-800-274-8683.

Q. Must I have my ballot notarized or witnessed?
A. The absentee ballot's outside return envelope has an affidavit that must be sworn to before two witnesses (at least 18 years old). Notarization is not required.

Q. Do I have to pay postage to vote?
A. In general, all election-related materials for servicemen and women can be mailed postage-free from any APO or FPO mail facility, from all U.S. embassies and consulates, and from any post office in the United States. You must pay postage if the materials are mailed from a non-U.S. postal facility. If you download the absentee application form, you must put it in an envelope and pay postage.

Q. What are the instructions for members of my family who are stationed with me?
A. Family members follow the same procedures as military personnel.

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