Military and Overseas Voter

Military and Overseas Voters

As a military or overseas voter who is registered to vote, there are several different ways you can request and receive your ballot and return your voted ballot and signed Military and Overseas Voter Return Envelope.


Even if you are or were registered to vote in your county, in order to receive your election materials and vote when you are absent from your county while serving and/or living overseas, you need to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by completing the online voter registration application or by completing the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) (PDF).

When you complete your online voter registration application or your FPCA, you can choose to receive your ballot and the accompanying Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope mailed, faxed, or emailed to you.

The FPCA form is available at your local US Embassy or at the Federal Voting Assistance Program website

Tips for California’s Military and Overseas Voters

Who can become a Military or Overseas Voter?

If you are eligible to vote in California, you can qualify as a "military or overseas voter" if you are absent from the county in which you are eligible to vote and you are:
  • A member of the active or reserve components of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard; a Merchant Marine; a member of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps of the United States; or a member on activated status of the National Guard or state militia;
  • A spouse or dependent of a person described above; or
  • A U.S. citizen living outside of the territorial limits of the U.S. or D.C.

A military or overseas voter has the right to register for, and to vote by, a vote-by-mail ballot in any California election, including any general, special, or primary election for any federal or statewide office or state ballot measure, as well as in any local contest held in the California precinct in which the voter was a resident when they last lived within the territorial limits of the U.S. or D.C. or, for a citizen born outside of the U.S., in the California precinct in which the citizen's parent or legal guardian resided when the parent or legal guardian last lived within the territorial limits of the U.S. or D.C.

How to become a Military or Overseas Voter

Military and Overseas Vote-by-Mail Voting

As a military or overseas voter, in order to receive your election materials and vote when you are absent from your county while serving and/or living overseas, you need to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by completing the online voter registration application or by completing the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The FPCA is available from the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

How to return your FPCA form

  • By Mail:
    County of Lake
    Registrar of Voters Office
    255 N Forbes St
    Lakeport, CA 95453
  • By Email:
    [email protected]
  • By Fax:
    707-263-2742

How to return your voted ballot

  • mail
  • fax

Return your voted ballot and signed Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope to the Registrar of Voters office by either mail or fax (under certain circumstances).

If mailing: Your voted ballot and signed return envelope must be postmarked on or before Election Day.

If faxing: If you are living outside the territorial limits of the United States or are called for military service within the United States on or after the final date to make application for a vote-by-mail ballot, you may return your ballot by fax, but it must be received by your county elections office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. If you decide to fax your voted ballot and signed Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope, you must also fax an "Oath of Voter" form to waive your right to a confidential vote. This oath is in addition to the voter's declaration that is on the Military or Overseas Voter Return Envelope. Please use the oath form provided to you.

Under California law, while you may receive a blank ballot by email, you may not return a voted ballot by email.