US elections: Can an American living in France still vote in them?

It is possible but there are a few important points you need to be aware of first

Registering to vote before 2024’s presidential election is on a lot of voter’s minds
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Reader question: I am an American living in France. Can I still vote in US elections even though I live permanently here now?

It is possible to vote in US elections - both presidential and congressional ones - if you live in France.

But you need to have participated in a previous vote while living in the US.

If so, you can take part from France using an absentee ballot.

To vote from abroad you do not need to retain an address in the US, but your last location before moving will be used to determine where your ballot will be counted.

You will need to complete a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA). Information is then sent to your local election office in the US, allowing you to request an absentee ballot.

To register, you will need a list of the following information:

  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s licence number (if retained from the US and not expired)
  • Former address in the US before arriving in France
  • Current French address

You can register electronically via the official site, or you can pick up a physical copy of a FPCA from a consulate or embassy and mail it to your local election officials (the county officials where the address you use for your application is located).

You must register annually for the FPCA, and it is recommended to do so each January to not miss any elections held throughout the year.

Are votes electronic?

Some states allow voting via email or fax, but not all of them – you should check for the state rules for the address you use in your FPCA application, or on your last voter registration card, if you still have it.

For states where you can only send your ballot via ordinary mail, deadlines can vary.

You can use the Federal Assistance voting website to see what the rules are for each state or territory in the US. Once again, you should use your US address on your FPCA application for the state you will vote in.

Alternatively, you can use the website to find which county you will be voting in within the state, and then contact officials there directly using the information given to ask what the rules will be.

Ballots will be sent either electronically or by mail to your French address 45 days before the presidential election and 30 days before other elections.

Mail ballots can be sent via local mail or returned to US embassies or consulates, and you can order a pre-paid postage envelope here.

Although there is no official cut-off point for ballots to be sent in, the US government recommends sending it as early as possible.

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