General Elections are less than 45 days away – Register, Vote, Send!

Location: Nigeria
Event:  U.S. Mission Nigeria Accepting Mail-in Ballots

Here are the necessary steps to vote in the 2020 U.S. elections.

In some states, voter registration and ballot request deadlines for the November 2020 elections are as early as October 5th.  Whether you are a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) each year to ensure you are able to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.

If you have already completed a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) in 2020 and requested electronic delivery of your ballot, you will be receiving your blank ballot or instructions for how to access your ballot soon if you have not already received it.  If you are not sure about the status of your absentee ballot request, you should contact your local election officials in the United States or check the status of your registration via your state’s voter registration verification website.

You can get voting assistance from the embassy/consulate, and you can mail your completed voting forms and ballots, addressed to your local election officials, through the Embassy/Consulate.

DISSEMINATING ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING:

Now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting.  If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late.  The process is easy — just follow these steps:

 1.     Complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Whether you are a first-time voter or have voted absentee in past elections, we recommend that you complete an FPCA to receive your ballot this fall.  It allows you to register to vote and request absentee ballots for all elections for federal offices (presidential and state primaries, run-off, special, and the November general elections) during the course of the year in which you submit the FPCA.  Local election officials in all U.S. states and territories accept the FPCA.

The online voting assistant available at FVAP.gov is an easy way to complete the FPCA.  It will ask you questions specific to your state and tell you if electronic ballot delivery is possible.  No matter which state you vote in, we encourage you to ask your local election officials to deliver your blank ballots to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state).  Be sure to include your email address to take advantage of electronic delivery.  The online voting assistant will generate a printable FPCA, which you can then print and sign. Do not request your ballot to be sent to the U.S. Consulate in Lagos or the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.

2.     Submit the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

Please note that many states accept FPCA’s through email.  If you must mail your FPCA, see below for mailing options.

3.     Receive Your Ballot

After submitting your FPCA, most states allow you to confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.  States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election (September 19) for federal office (President, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House of Representatives) to any overseas U.S. citizen who has completed an FPCA.

4.     Return Your Ballot

Some states allow you to return your completed ballot electronically and others do not.  If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials by mail, you can do so through international mail, professional courier service, or through the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos.

Dropping Completed Ballot at U.S. Embassy or Consulate: If you are sending your completed ballot through the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or Consulate General in Lagos, ballots can be dropped off at the front security entrance on a walk-in basis Monday – Thursday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  You do not need an appointment or identification to drop off your ballot. Ballots must be addressed to local election offices and placed in postage paid return envelopes or in envelopes bearing sufficient U.S. domestic postage so they may be delivered to the proper local election authorities.  Postage from Nigeria to the United States is not required using this method.

Please note that it can take up to four weeks for mail to reach its destination if sent through the Embassy or Consulate.  Therefore, the deadline to submit your ballots to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is Monday, October 5, 2020. If you miss this deadline, U.S. citizens still have the option to send the ballot via international courier services such as UPS and FedEx.

Please note that all visitors to the Embassy and Consulate are subject to security screening.  Anyone entering the security perimeter is required to wear a face mask.  People with symptoms of COVID19 will be prohibited from entering.

Using international courier services to send in your completed ballot: The U.S. Mission in Nigeria has coordinated with UPS, FedEx, DHL to accept mail in ballots nationwide.  UPS has offered a discounted shipping rate for mail-in ballots.

Please note:  Although FedEx, through their local partners RedStar Express, will accept mail in ballots, they are unable to ship to a P.O. box.  Please review your voting office mailing address to determine the mailing address.

For more information on residential pickups or drop off locations, please contact UPS, RedStar Express, or DHL using the information below:

UPS:
Email: ngcustomerservice@ups.com
Phone: +234 9 06 550 9044

RedStar Express:
Email: mib@redstarplc.com
Phone: +2348165989915  or  +2348038072449

DHL:
Phone: +2348039077000

Any registered U.S. citizen voter who requests an absentee ballot by their state’s deadline but has not received it at least 30-days before the election, can vote via returned Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).  The FWAB is an emergency backup ballot that can be completed using an online assistant and/or via a PDF at: https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fwab2013.pdf.

For information on security in Nigeria:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, the Travel Advisories and Alerts, the Nigeria Travel Advisory, the Nigeria Country Information, and the Crime and Safety Reports for Nigeria
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, at +234 (9) 461-4000, prompt 2 [ACS only], Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +234 (9) 461-4000 and press zero. Email at AbujaACS@state.gov for American services.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate in Lagos, located 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, at +234 (1) 460-3400, Monday – Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +234 (1) 460 3400.  Email LagosACS@state.gov for American Services.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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