Did you know if you are an American citizen, you carry your right to vote wherever you are in the world? Generation X, Millennials, and the post-Millennial generation make up the majority of eligible voters but have some of the lowest voter turnout rates among all eligible voters. You can make your voice heard and act for change back home by becoming a registered voter abroad in the upcoming elections.
Study abroad students can participate in U.S. federal, state, and local elections by registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot. Note that you must register as an overseas voter even if you are already registered to vote in the U.S. You can register to vote from your host country or in the U.S. before you depart; just make sure you follow the deadline for your state. Registering is quick, easy, and free!
3 Quick Steps to Register as a 2018 Overseas Voter and Request Your Overseas Absentee Ballot
- Go to Overseas Vote (overseasvote.org) – click on “Voter Registration/Absentee Ballot Request” on the main menu
- Overseas Vote is nonpartisan voter service for U.S. citizens overseas and uniformed service members
- Enter your information into the system and then DOWNLOAD, PRINT, and SIGN the form
- MAIL your signed form to your election office address which you will find in the instructions that print with the form.
Follow Up. About two weeks after you mail the registration/ballot request, contact your local election official to make sure they’re received and processed your request.
You Have Options. Depending on your state, you may be able to transmit your Voter Registration/Ballot Request online, by mail, and/or by email. To see your options, go to Overseas Vote (overseasvote.org) – click on “State Voting Requirements,” enter your state and county, and scroll down to “Voter Materials Transmission Options.”
Find Your Date. Every state has different deadlines for ballot request, registration, and return. Check yours now! Go to Overseas Vote (overseasvote.org) – click on “Election Dates and Deadlines.”
You can also use the Overseas Vote website to:
- See all the voting information for your state, including dates, identification requirements, transmission options, and state lookup tools
- See who is running for office in your community
- Get answers to frequently asked questions or ask your own question to a trained voting expert
You have the right to vote in any primary, general, special, and runoff elections at the federal level. It’s also your right to vote in state and local elections and primaries since you are only overseas temporarily. The majority of study abroad students are of voting age, and in this time of such close races, your votes can swing entire elections. In 2016, Donald Trump won Wisconsin by just over 20,000 votes; and in 2008, Barack Obama won Indiana by under 30,000 votes. Your voice and your vote matters.
It is BCA’s hope that all students who participate on our programs will become active, engaged citizens in their community and throughout the world. As an organization, BCA Study Abroad encourages you to bridge the world, connect for peace, and act for justice. It’s okay to start small! Become a registered voter abroad to vote in the upcoming elections and take action as an informed active global citizen to lead change for a more peaceful and just world starting with your own community.