How do you vote from abroad?

There are 4 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by Rice.

  • On March 4th, after many years, finally there will be political elections in Italy.

    Italians abroad can vote for their representatives (members of the chambers who represent the Italian people living outside of Italy). On FB groups for Italians in South America / Argentina there are some posts inviting to vote for this or that candidate, but I was unable to find their political manifesto/program. They all say "vote for me because" and people supporting them repost them with a generic "I invite you to vote for John Doe for a true representation of Italians abroad!". Duh?


    The two candidates I saw publicized did not feature any Italian party symbol, so I was not even able to tell if they are right or left candidates.

    How do we vote? We are mailed the electoral package which includes: the voting card, a white envelope, a pre-addressed envelope to be mailed to the Consulate.

    We draw an X on the party of our choice using a black or blue pen (in Italy we vote with a special pencil that cannot be erased), pur the card in the white (anonymous) envelope, and put it in the bigger envelope that has to be returned to the Italian consulate wither by mail (pre-paid) or by hand (if you live close to the consulate, a letter box will be available to drop it).

    Italians abroad usually vote a few days before Italians in Italy, but their vote is only for a limited number of Parliament members (18 in total), as follows:

    Region No. of citizens Deputates Senators
    Europe 2.685.815 5 2
    South America 1.559.068 4 2
    North & Central America 451.062 2 1
    Africa, Asia, Oceania and Antartide 277.997 1 1
    Total 4.973.942 12 6

    Of course, this costs a lot of money compared to the number of Parliament members to be elected, and Consulates are dealing with all of this on top of their regular work. This is why whenever there is an election, Italian consulates are more swamped than ever and ordinary work is set aside for a while.

    It would be nice to find out how many actually vote, as I have never met one Italo-Argentinian proudly saying I voted for X because I believe in this and that. Indeed, it has been known for a long time (over 10 years) that there is a fervent black market of electoral packages: candidates buying electoral packages from Italians abroad, but also packages *stolen* from mailboxes of Italians abroad and sold to candidates for the price of a coffee, corrupted postmen across the globe paid to 'set aside' packages instead of delivering them, and also 'smart' printing shops which printed electoral cards in excess (120.000 cards in excess in Argentina in 2008!) In the same article it says that in Argentina there are a staggering half million voters, second only to Germany.

    Personally, I am against the vote for those not residing in Italy. How does it work in your country? How do you vote?

  • Here's how you vote in the USA:


    (ingrese a este enlace para su version en espanol)

    Your vote counts! Did you know that many U.S. elections for house and senate seats have been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters? All states are required to count every absentee ballot as long as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline.

    Follow a few simple steps to make sure that you can vote in the 2018 U.S. elections:

    1.     Request Your Ballot: Complete a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). You mustcomplete a new FPCA to ensure you receive your ballot for the 2018 elections. 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. The FPCA is accepted by all local election officials in all U.S. states and territories. (Check with your state’s elections officials about voting in local elections.)

    You can complete the FPCA online at The online voting assistant will ask you questions specific to your state. We encourage you to choose the option to have your blank ballots delivered to you electronically (by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state). Include your email address on your FPCA to take advantage of the electronic ballot delivery option. Return the FPCA per the instructions on the website. will tell you if your state allows the FPCA to be returned electronically or if you must submit a paper copy with original signature. If you must return a paper version, please see below for mailing options.

    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.

    3.     Return Your Completed Ballot: Some states allow you to return your completed ballot by email or fax. If your state requires you to return paper voting forms or ballots to local election officials, you can use international mail, a courier service such as FedEx or DHL, or you may drop off completed voting materials at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Monday thru Friday from 8am to 5pm on Av Cerviño 4320. Place your materials in a postage paid return envelope (available under “Downloadable Election Materials” on the FVAP homepage) or in an envelope bearing sufficient domestic U.S. postage, and address it to the relevant local election officials.

    4.  New this year – email to fax service by FVAP! - the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will provide an email-to-fax conversion service for voters who have difficulty sending election materials to States that do not accept emailed documents. Get more information here.

    Researching the Candidates and Issues: Online Resources. Check out the FVAP links page for helpful resources that will 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 online. You can also read national and hometown newspapers online, or search the internet to locate articles and information. For information about election dates and deadlines, subscribe to FVAP's Voting Alerts ( FVAP also shares Voting Alerts via Facebookand Twitter.

    Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) website, If you have any questions about registering to vote overseas, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires Voting Assistance Officer at

    Remember, your vote counts!

    Be absent but accounted for!

                       Vote with white background


    ¡Su voto cuenta! ¿Sabía usted que varias de las elecciones llevadas a cabo para diputados y senadores en los Estados Unidos se han determinado por un margen menor al número de votos en ausencia? Todos los estados están obligados a contar cada uno de los votos en ausencia, siempre y cuando sean válidos y lleguen a los funcionarios electorales del condado antes de la fecha que figura en el recibo de la boleta.

    Sírvase seguir los pasos que se describen a continuación para que así usted pueda votar en las elecciones del 2018:

    1. Solicite su boleta: Complete la Tarjeta de Solicitud Federal (Federal Post Card Application -FPCA). Para asegurarse de recibir la boleta con vista a las elecciones 2018, debe completar una tarjeta FPCA nueva. Esto le permitirá solicitar la boleta de voto en ausencia para todas las elecciones federales (presidente, senadores y congresistas), incluyendo las elecciones primarias y las especiales, durante el año calendario en el cual usted se haya inscripto. La tarjeta FPCA es válida para todos los funcionarios electorales del condado en todo Estados Unidos y sus territorios. (Verifique con el oficial de elecciones de su estado sobre votar en las elecciones locales)

    Puede completar la tarjeta FPCA en línea, visitando la página web: , donde le harán consultas específicas relacionadas al estado para el cual se registra. Sugerimos solicite que le envíen la boleta en blanco en su versión electrónica (por correo electrónico, a través de la descarga por internet o vía fax, dependiendo del estado). Incluya su correo electrónico en la tarjeta FPCA para tener la opción de envío de la boleta en su formato electrónico. Por favor, devuelva la tarjeta FPCA según las instrucciones en la página web. El sitio le informará si su estado autoriza el envío de la tarjeta FCPA de forma electrónica o si la tiene que enviar en versión papel con la firma original. Si debe enviarla en formato impreso, tenga a bien ver las opciones de envío que se especifican más abajo.

    2. Reciba y complete la boleta: Los distintos estados están obligados a enviar las boletas 45 días antes de las elecciones regulares para cargos federales y generalmente lo hacen por lo menos 30 días antes de las elecciones primarias. La mayoría de los estados le permite confirmar en línea si está registrado y hacer un seguimiento del envío de su boleta electoral.

    3. Devuelva la boleta: Algunos estados autorizan el envió de la balota completa de manera electrónica o fax. Si su estado requiere que los formularios para votar o la balota en formato papel sean enviados a los funcionarios electorales, puede enviarlos por correo privado o correo internacional (FedEx o DHL), o puede deposítelo en la Embajada de Estados Unidos situada en la calle Cerviño 4320 lunes a viernes de 8hs a 17hs. Ponga la documentación en un sobre pre pago disponible (bajo “Downloadable Election Materials” en el enlace, o en un sobre que ya contenga el sello de pago o las estampillas estadounidenses necesarias e incluya la dirección de la oficina de los funcionarios electorales.

    4. Novedades para este año – Servicio de email a fax! El programa Federal de asistencia al votante (FVAP) proveerá de un servicio de email a fax conversión para los votantes con dificultades para él envió de los materiales electorales a los estados que no aceptan la documentación por email. Para más información, haga click aquí.

    Conozca a los candidatos y sus propuestas: Información en internet. Visite los enlaces de la página web donde encontrará información útil acerca de los candidatos. En internet, hay mucha información disponible y es de fácil acceso: información no partidaria sobre los candidatos, el historial con el registro de sus votos con respecto a temas de interés público y sus posturas con respecto a temas varios. También puede recurrir a los diarios nacionales y locales en línea o buscar material a través de los distintos buscadores de internet. Para obtener información sobre las fechas de las elecciones y los plazos para registrase, suscríbase en FVAP Alertas ( También recibirá alertas a través de Facebooky Twitter.

    Encontrará todo esto y mucho más en la página del Programa Federal de Asistencia para Votar Si tiene alguna consulta para votar fuera de los Estados Unidos, comuníquese con el funcionario electoral de la Embajada de Estados Unidos por correo electrónico a

    Recuerde, su voto cuenta!

    Aun ausente, su voto cuenta!

    Vote with white background

  • Interesting, @Nancy. E-mail or fax should reduce the chance of tampering. It is also interesting to note that your vote counts as if you lived in the US, whereas in our case we just have a limited relevance. 12 deputes over 630 and 6 senators over 315. Also, your candidates are the same as the main land, whereas we elect people living abroad like us.

    In the past there was no vote for Italians abroad, and I do believe that this system is just a way to generate (and waste and steal) money rather than a way to give Italians the chance to cast their vote even when away from Italy. Let's see if I am going to receive my electoral package in my mailbox this month.

    In case I don't, I can contact the Consulate to receive a new one, but what happens to the lost package? It will generate an unduly vote...

  • Thanks for this update, NancyAtAlki . In the current political situation in the USA, no one should consider not voting, no matter how difficult the process is. In the past, I have read that absentee ballots are counted only in the case of a very close race. Does anyone know if this is the case? I'd really like to think that my vote is counted, regardless.

    It is worth noting, serafina that a large Italian worry seems to be about lost or stolen ballots. When we take our ballots to the American Embassy, their concern is clearly more about security, as they carefully check each ballot envelope for explosives before accepting it outside the gate of the formidable wall around the grounds.