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Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)


The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is a U.S. government initiative that aims to assist military service members, their families, and overseas citizens in participating in the electoral process. FVAP provides resources and guidance on voter registration, absentee ballot requests, and voting procedures for these specific groups. The program ensures that eligible voters have the opportunity to fully exercise their voting rights, regardless of their location or circumstances.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) supports military service members, their families, and U.S. citizens living overseas by providing resources and information to ensure they can participate in federal elections.
  2. FVAP maintains resources including the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which functions as both a voter registration and absentee ballot request form, enabling service members and overseas citizens to stay engaged in the democratic process.
  3. FVAP offers various assistance methods, such as an online assistant tool, mailing options, and a 24/7 help desk, to make it as easy as possible for military and overseas voters to understand and access their voting rights.


The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is important as it ensures that the voting rights of U.S.

citizens, including service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens, are protected and exercised effectively.

This program facilitates access to absentee voting materials and resources, empowering these individuals to participate in the democratic process regardless of their location or deployment status.

As part of the VA benefits system, FVAP plays a crucial role in maintaining the connection between military personnel and their home states, allowing them to have a say in shaping the policies and leadership that impact their lives and country.


The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) serves a crucial purpose in ensuring that eligible American voters, including military personnel, their families and overseas citizens, have access to the tools and resources required to participate in the democratic process. By providing valuable information, support, and assistance, the program works diligently to guarantee that these individuals have the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote, regardless of where they’re stationed or residing. Through FVAP, members of the military and U.S.

citizens abroad can obtain absentee ballots, allowing them to cast their votes without being physically present at polling stations in their home jurisdiction. The program actively seeks to promote a sense of inclusion, as well as maintain civic engagement among the citizens it serves. FVAP provides a plethora of resources, such as voting assistance guides, websites, and toll-free helpline numbers in order to streamline the voting process for these groups.

It also conducts studies and surveys to identify potential concerns and areas for improvement to ensure that it continues to offer relevant and up-to-date assistance. Additionally, FVAP works closely with state and local election officials to facilitate an effective communication channel, promoting a smooth voting experience. By combining these strategies, FVAP helps to preserve the integrity of the voting process for service members and overseas citizens, contributing to the overall success of the democratic system in the United States.

Examples of Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) aims to ensure that U.S. citizens, including service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens, have the ability to exercise their voting rights. Here are three real-world examples of how FVAP operates:

Military Deployment Voting Assistance: A service member deployed overseas during an election period may be unsure how to cast their vote. FVAP provides resources and support for the service member, supplying information about absentee voting and helping them complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Once approved, the service member receives their absentee ballot and can cast their vote from their deployment location.

Voting Outreach During Natural Disasters: In the wake of a natural disaster, like a hurricane or earthquake, U.S. citizens living overseas may find it difficult to access voting information. FVAP works in partnership with the U.S. Department of State to provide voting assistance to overseas citizens affected by these disasters, ensuring they have access to updated information about voting and the ability to obtain and submit their ballots.

College Student Voting Assistance: A U.S. citizen attending a university abroad may be unaware of their voting rights or how to vote while living in another country. FVAP steps in to provide helpful voting resources tailored to the needs of overseas college students, such as guidance on voter registration deadlines, how to submit the FPCA, and receiving an electronic or mail-in ballot. Through these services, FVAP helps ensure that these students can continue to participate in the democratic process from their overseas location.

Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) FAQ

What is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP)?

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is a U.S. government program that provides voting assistance to military service members, their families, and overseas citizens. Its primary aim is to ensure that these individuals can participate in the democratic process by providing them with absentee voting forms, election materials, and other resources needed to vote from abroad.

Who is eligible for FVAP assistance?

U.S. military members (active duty, National Guard, and reserves), their eligible family members, and overseas U.S. citizens can receive FVAP assistance. This includes individuals who are temporarily or permanently living outside of the United States and meet the eligibility requirements for absentee voting.

How do I register to vote through FVAP?

To register to vote using FVAP, complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). This form serves as both your voter registration and your absentee ballot request. You can access the FPCA form on the FVAP website, at your local military installation’s voting office, or through your unit’s Voting Assistance Officer.

How often do I need to submit an FPCA?

You should submit a new FPCA every year and whenever you change your address, even if it is within the same country. This ensures that your local election office has your current contact information and can send you an absentee ballot for upcoming elections.

What happens after I submit my FPCA?

After submitting your FPCA, your local election office will process your voter registration and absentee ballot request. You should receive your absentee ballot approximately 45 days before Election Day. If you do not receive your absentee ballot, contact your local election office or FVAP for assistance.

How do I return my voted absentee ballot?

Once you have completed your absentee ballot, follow the instructions provided to return it to your local election office. Depending on your location, you may be able to mail, fax, or email your ballot. If mailing, be sure to account for the time it takes for mail to be delivered from your location to ensure your ballot arrives prior to the deadline.

Can I receive help with the FVAP process?

Yes, FVAP provides numerous resources and assistance, including an online voting assistant, printable voting forms, step-by-step tutorials, and information on upcoming elections. You can also contact your unit’s Voting Assistance Officer or FVAP directly for help with any questions or concerns.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Absentee Voting
  • Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)
  • 3.

  • Armed Forces Voters
  • 4.

  • State Election Offices
  • 5.

  • Ballot Transmission

Sources for More Information