US expats need to register now to vote in November

New absentee voting laws are in effect for the 2012 elections

Have a say in our country’s future. One of our most treasured values is the right and the privilege to vote—to participate actively in our country’s democratic process. This November, U.S. citizens will elect a President, a Vice President, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House of Representatives. The U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua encourages all U.S. citizens to participate in this year’s elections, and stands ready to help you vote.

Almost all overseas U.S. citizens can vote. Twenty-two States and the District of Columbia now allow adult children who have never resided in the United States to vote using their parents’ state of voting residence. Details are available on the FVAP website here

Register and request a ballot. To vote, new laws require you to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) this calendar year. The FPCA allows you to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. If you haven’t yet done so, we urge you to do so now. The easiest way to complete it is online at Depending on your State’s rules, you then send it to your local election officials electronically or by mail.

Mailing guidance. Print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. You can drop off the postage-paid envelope (containing your FPCA) at the Embassy and we will mail it back home for you without the need to pay international postage. If it’s easier for you to use Nicaragua’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.

Make your vote count! Follow your State’s absentee voting procedures carefully. Send in your FPCA before the registration deadline. When you get your ballot, vote and mail it promptly so it reaches local election officials by your State’s absentee ballot receipt deadline.

New absentee voting laws are in effect for the 2012 elections. You may no longer automatically receive ballots based on a previous absentee ballot request. All U.S. citizens outside the United States who want to vote by absentee ballot in U.S. elections should complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) every year. States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election. No matter what State you vote in, you can now ask your local election officials to provide your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your State). You can now also confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. Be sure to include your email address on the form to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. This is the fastest and most reliable way to receive your ballot on time, and we strongly recommend every voter take advantage of it. Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website at

Questions? If you have any questions about registering to vote, please contact the U.S. Embassy’s ‘s Voting Assistance Officer at +505-2252-7161, or at

  • Darrell Bushnell

    I consider voting an essential part of the democratic process and have always voted but this year I will have to reconsider. For expats from the states, some of the states determine your state residence as where you may have a driver’s license, a bank account or what we are hearing now, where you vote. Couple that with FATCA starting in January, 2013 requiring all countries to report for tax purposes to the USA expats’ financial records and transactions there is potential for your voting state to tax you.

    We file federal taxes every year but there will be less voting by USA expats if there is a risk of states demanding their share just because we are voting. Is it worth the risk? We hope Nicaragua will continue to resist USA demands for banking and financial records. We are not hiding anything but we are citizens of the USA but not residents of any state.

  • Sommer