The November 2020 U.S. elections are right around the corner and U.S. Citizens in Thailand can vote from abroad. Your vote counts! The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate General are here to help you exercise your right to vote and answer your voting questions.
Voting from abroad is a three-step process that needs to be started early.
Step 1: Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) at FVAP.gov. 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. All FPCA forms that are correctly filled out and include a signature and date are accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories.
Pro Tip: You can use FVAP’s easy online assistant to walk you through the FPCA based on your state. We encourage you to select the option for receiving your ballot electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state) as this is the fastest way for you to get your ballot. FVAP.gov will tell you if your state accepts the FPCA by email, mail, or fax. If you are required to mail your FPCA, see mailing options below.
Step 2: 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. For most states, you can confirm your registration and ballot delivery online. Resources for researching candidates are outlined below.
Step 3: Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not. If your state requires you to return ballot by mail, you can do so free of charge at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai.
How to Mail Voting Materials from Thailand:
Drop off Ballots: U.S. citizens may drop off their voting materials at the U.S. Embassy Bangkok or at the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai in the voting boxes located at the American Citizen Services security entrance. Please make sure your envelope is signed, sealed, and addressed to your district office. It also must include U.S. postage, or use a postage-paid envelope. You can find postage-paid envelopes available for download at this link. U.S. citizen employees of the Department of State are responsible for the handling of your ballots.
Mailing Ballots: If you live far from Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you may also mail ballots via Thai Post to the Embassy or Consulate General addresses below, then we will forward these to the United States to be delivered to your district office.
Pro Tip: You need two envelopes. Address the first envelope to the Embassy or Consulate General at the mailing address below. Address the second envelope to your local state election office and enclose your FPCA or ballot inside. The second envelope needs to be postage-paid or have sufficient U.S. postage to be delivered to your local election office from the U.S. sorting facility where it will be mailed. Seal the second envelope, place it inside the first envelope, and mail the package to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General.
U.S. Embassy Bangkok
American Citizen Services
Attn: Voting Assistance Officer
95 Wireless Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10330
U.S. citizens in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaengphet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Petchabun, Phayao, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, and Uttaradit provinces should mail their ballots to the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai at:
U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai
American Citizen Services
Attn: Voting Assistance Officer
387 Wichayanond Rd
T. Chang Moi, A. Muang
Chiang Mai 50300 Thailand
Pro Tip: Your ballot will be returned via the Diplomatic Pouch, which is slower than normal mail. Please allow 2-4 weeks for your ballot to arrive at your local election office. If it’s more convenient, you can also return your FPCA or ballot to your local election officials via international mail or professional courier service, at your own expense.
Researching the Candidates and Issues: 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 on-line. You can also read national and hometown newspapers on-line, 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).
Remember, your vote counts!
Q: What is my U.S. voting residence address?
A: It’s usually the last place you lived before moving overseas. You do not need to have any current ties with this address. More information can be found at this link on the FVAP website.
Q: Can I vote in person at the Embassy or Consulate General?
A: No. Elections are run at the state level. You must communicate directly with your state to register, request a ballot, and vote as described above. However, we are happy to help you register and to send your voting materials to your state district office.
Q: Do I have to send in a separate application for each election?
A: The FPCA allows you to request an absentee ballot for all federal elections in the calendar year. Depending on your state, you may receive a ballot with local or state offices and initiatives as well (e.g., Governor, City Council). We recommend that you send in a new FPCA every January and each time you move.
Q: When will I get my ballot?
A: State election offices are required to send absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election. If you asked to receive your ballot by email, it should arrive right away. Mailed ballots will take longer depending on the postal system in the country where you’re located.
Q: What if I don’t get a ballot?
A: If you don’t receive an absentee ballot in time to return it to your state, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as a backup ballot to vote for federal offices. If your official absentee ballot arrives after sending in the FWAB, fill out and send in the official ballot as well. Your state will count only one.
Q: Does voter registration affect my tax status?
A: You can vote for federal offices without a change to your tax status, but voting for non-federal offices may result in state and local taxation. There may also be tax implications when changing your residence from one state to another. We recommend that you seek legal advice when changing your voting residence.
Q: How can I send my form?
A: All states will accept your form by mail, but they vary on email and fax. Check your state’s requirements/guidelines at FVAP.gov. If you are required to mail your voting materials, please follow the instructions above.
Still have questions? Check out the full list of FAQs at the FVAP website. Or email the Voting Assistance Officer at U.S. Embassy Bangkok at VoteBANGKOK@state.gov or the Voting Assistance Officer at U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai at VoteChiangMai@state.gov.