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Your vote matters: get your US election ballot in today

The 2020 US election is fast approaching. If you’re a US citizen abroad, and with the added concerns around Covid-19, this is certainly not the year to delay voting.

Your vote matters: get your US election ballot in today
Ballot/FWAB State transmission methods (see full details from FVAP below)

Wherever you are, help is at hand. The Local has teamed up with the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), which supports US citizens living abroad to vote absentee.

Hopefully, you’ve already requested your absentee ballot – that's the crucial first step, so do it right now if you haven't already. You still have time – and every state allows you to receive your ballot by email.

Once your ballot arrives, don’t hang on to it! Here are four reasons to return your ballot the moment it arrives in your hands – or your email inbox.

Quick! Find out how to vote absentee as a US citizen abroad while you still have time

1. To make sure your voice is heard

Are you one of the three million Americans abroad who is eligible to vote? Want to be certain your voice will be heard? Then, return your ballot immediately! Turnout among eligible overseas voters was only 6.9 percent in the 2016 US election – and even lower for the 2018 mid-terms.

Maybe you've got lost in the voting process? Don't worry. If you’ve requested a ballot but haven’t received it, ask your election office about its status. Hoping to save yourself some time by voting by email? See the map below or click here to check your options for returning your ballot (or your FWAB – more on that below) in your state – by email, fax or mail.

2. For peace of mind amid the pandemic …

Need or plan to return your ballot by mail? You have even more reason to act immediately.  You can contact your local post office about possible delivery delays due to Covid-19 (more information from FVAP here).

So, what if your state only allows mail-in ballots and you’re worried about delays? FVAP suggests seeing if you can send your ballot by diplomatic pouch from a nearby Embassy or consulate

You may also want to check the latest list of countries to which the United States Postal Service (USPS) has suspended mail due to the pandemic.

The final recommended vote-by-date from abroad is October 13. But why leave it so long? If you want to feel sure your vote will count, return your ballot now! 

Make your vote count: see FVAP's guidance on voting absentee from abroad

3. To get your “I Voted From Abroad” sticker! 

Voting absentee doesn’t mean you have to miss out on getting one of those “I Voted” stickers. In fact, as an American abroad who played your part in the democratic process, you can get a special version reading: “I Voted From Abroad”.

You can display it on social media to let your friends and family know you voted. Perhaps your sticker will even motivate others to vote too.

4. Because you have a ready-made back-up plan

Are you running out of time? You can’t always count on everything working out as you expect. But when it comes to voting as an American abroad, you get a ready-made back-up ballot – so even if your requested ballot doesn’t arrive, you can still vote.

It’s called the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Use this if your regular ballot doesn’t reach you in good time. A few states may allow you to vote via FWAB even if you haven’t already applied for a regular ballot.

Running out of time to return your ballot? Find out more about voting with the FWAB

 

For members

TRAVEL

Can Americans travel to Denmark for tourism this summer?

Denmark has long been a top travel destination for Americans, and US tourists who are vaccinated can from this weekend return to see the Little Mermaid.

Can Americans travel to Denmark for tourism this summer?
Tourists on a Copenhagen sightseeing bus. Photo: Morten Jerichau/VisitCopenhagen

In 2019, US tourists spent 835,800 nights in Denmark’s hotels, and 755,000 in Copenhagen, more than those of any other country.

“Before Covid, the US was actually the biggest international market for Copenhagen,” Katinka Friis, Visit Denmark’s press officer in the US, told The Local. “So of course tourism in our biggest cities has been hit pretty hard.” 

In a press release issued on Friday, Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that residents of OECD countries who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the European Medicines Agency, will be treated the same as vaccinated people from EU and Schengen countries. 

This means that US citizens vaccinated with jabs from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson no longer need a so-called “worthy purpose” to travel to Denmark, do not need to show a negative coronavirus test before boarding their aircraft, or get tested and go into self-isolation on arrival.

The vaccine is treated as valid by Denmark from 14 days after the final dose has been given. 

When will Denmark open up for non-vaccinated tourists from the US? 

A Ministry of Justice text published last month suggests that on June 26th, Denmark will adopt the EU’s common rules on entry for persons from outside the bloc, meaning non-EU countries such as the US should qualify if infection levels are low enough to qualify as “orange” or “yellow”. 

“The most recent thing that we’ve seen in the documents is that the 26th of June should mark the next step of reopening, so that’s the date we’re hoping for,” Friis said. “We’re also waiting for the EU to give their seal of approval to a list of countries outside the EU.” 

She said that the importance of the US as a tourism market, and the high rate of vaccination in the country, meant it was likely that the US will be on the list. 

What restrictions will be in place for tourists from the US when Denmark opens up? 

According to Friis, tourists from the US will be treated in a similar way to those from the six non-EU countries already allowed to travel to Denmark.

“The market has already opened up to some countries outside the EU, and I think it will be a similar situation for those coming from the US. If you’re vaccinated, it will be pretty straightforward.”

If the US is treated the same as other counties, then if the country is rated “orange”, tourists will need a negative test result, proof of completed vaccination, or proof of a previous coronavirus infection within the last six months to board the plane. 

Those travelling on a negative test result will also need to pass a test on arrival in Copenhagen, and then to self-isolate for at least four days until they test negative for coronavirus, or ten days without a test.

Those who are vaccinated or immune after a previous infection will not need to take a test on arrival or self-isolate. 

If the US is rated “yellow”, however, tourists who are not vaccinated or judged immune will only need to take a test on arrival in Denmark and will not need to self-isolate. 

Will Denmark open up too late for US tourists? 

According to Friis, there is significant pent-up demand from US tourists wanting to come to Denmark, meaning the first tourists are likely to arrive shortly after the market opens. 

“Every single day I get those emails — when can I travel to Denmark? Can I come now?” Friis said. “And we’re really happy about that because it means people are excited about the reopening, and we have so many new museums and hotels opening in Denmark around this time, so it’s a good starting point for rebooting American tourist travel”

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