Military voters, their dependents, and other U.S. citizens who are overseas may be eligible to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
Those eligible to be a UOCAVA voter are
- Members of the uniformed services or merchant marine — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and will be absent from your precinct on Election Day due to your service.
- Spouses and dependents of a member of the uniformed services or merchant marine.
- Temporarily overseas — if you are a citizen who would be qualified to vote at your polling location in Minnesota if you were not overseas.
- Indefinitely overseas — if you are a citizen who currently has no plans to return to Minnesota, but you maintained residence in Minnesota for at least 20 days immediately prior to your departure from the United States. Voters who are indefinitely overseas are permitted to vote only for the offices of president, vice president, senator in Congress, and representative in Congress.
How to apply for an absentee ballot
To complete the online absentee ballot application to vote absentee while in the military or overseas, you must:
- Be eligible to complete the federal postcard application (PDF)
- Provide an email address
- Provide your identification number from either your Minnesota driver's license, your Minnesota ID card or the last four (4) digits of your social security number
If you can't provide an email address and one of the identification numbers listed above, you cannot apply online and must submit a paper application.
By mail, email, FAX or in person
You need to complete and submit a federal postcard application (PDF). Your spouse, parent, sibling or child older than 18, may complete and submit the form for you.
Use one of the following methods to complete the form:
Submit your application by mail, FAX or in person to our contact information at the top right of the page. Or you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to submit your voted ballot
Regardless of how you received the ballot, you must return your voted ballot by mail to the election official the ballot was received from.
Frequently asked questions
Q: When can a military or overseas voter apply?
A: You may submit an federal postcard application (PDF) any time during the year. However, you should submit it as far ahead of the election as possible to avoid delays in receiving your ballot.
Q: Can a military or overseas voter receive a ballot electronically?
A: Yes. You can receive the ballot by mail, fax or email. You will need to indicate on your application how you would like to receive the ballot.
Q: Can a military or overseas voter return a voted ballot electronically?
A: No. Regardless of how you received the ballot, you must return your voted ballot by mail to the election official the ballot was received from.
Q: When should a military or overseas voter expect to get a ballot?
A: Ballots are sent out by election officials at least 45 days prior to the election. For those voters whose applications were received fewer than 45 days before the election, ballots are sent as quickly as possible.
Ballots sent by mail are airmailed to addresses outside the continental U.S. Your ballot will be sent to you by an express mail service if you provide a prepaid envelope to the county auditor’s office. Note: Your voted ballot must arrive back at the county no later than Election Day to be counted.
Q: What if a military or overseas voter doesn’t receive a ballot?
A: If you submit timely absentee ballot applications but never receive your ballot or you are concerned that you will not be able to return your ballot in time to be counted, you may submit the federal write-in absentee ballot (PDF) as an alternative.
A FWAB allows you to write in choices for all offices. For federal offices you may indicate your choice by writing in a candidate name or political party. When voting for state or local offices on the FWAB, you must write the name of the candidate (not just the party) for your vote to be counted.
Q: How long is a military or overseas voter application valid?
A: An application is valid from the time the application is received through the end of that calendar year or through the next regularly scheduled state general election, whichever is later. You may specify a different end date in box 6 of the application (e.g., "General election only"). A ballot will be sent automatically for all elections during that time in which you are eligible to vote. You must reapply each year in which you need a ballot or if your overseas mailing address changes.
Q: Can a military or overseas voter self-certify a ballot?
A: As a UOCAVA voter, Minnesota allows you to self-certify your FPCA, your ballot return envelope, and the FWAB. You can do this by using the same passport number, Minnesota driver's license or state ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on all forms throughout the process. If you do not have access to any of these documents, you may attest to the truthfulness of the information under penalty of perjury. For assistance, overseas citizens should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate, and military personnel should contact their Voting Assistance Officer (VAO).