Can you guess how many Americans abroad voted in the last US midterms?

Across Europe there are many Americans living and working, enjoying the lifestyle, sights and culture that their adopted home has to offer. However, things don’t stand still back in the United States.

Can you guess how many Americans abroad voted in the last US midterms?
It's never been easier to request your overseas ballot. Photo: Getty Images

The US is only months away from the 2022 midterm elections, and for US citizens abroad, voting is easier than you think. Here’s how to have a say in the future of your hometown, state and country.

What are the midterms, and why do they matter?

Unlike the Presidential elections, the midterm elections determine state representation in Congress and a number of state-level offices – this year all of the seats in the House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, 36 state governors and 30 state attorney generals will be elected by the people. 

The results of the midterms can have a large impact on the make-up of the House of Representatives and the Senate, changing the kinds of laws the governing administration is able to pass in the next two (the term of a representative) to six (the term of a senator) years.

As we have seen in the news recently, such laws can have significant implications for the rights of friends and family in the United States. 

This year, the US midterm elections are held on the 8th of November. 

For U.S. citizens living overseas who want to have a say in the future of their hometown, city and state, it is important to know how to navigate the absentee voting process for midterm elections. 

However, voter turnout from overseas is traditionally very low. According to the 2018 Overseas Citizen Population Analysis Report, only 13.9% of eligible voters from Germany participated in the last midterm elections, while in France, only 4.9% voted. 

U.S. citizens abroad who did not return a voted ballot reported having difficulties completing the process, or not being able to get their ballot in time to vote. We’re breaking down the absentee voting process into two, straightforward steps you can follow to make sure you have plenty of time to send your ballot back to the States — no matter where you’re voting from.

The 2022 midterm elections are approaching – time to request your absentee ballot.

Requesting your online ballot only takes minutes. PhotoL Supplied

How can I vote in the midterms from overseas?

Whereas many Americans located in the United States only need to show up on Election Day to cast their vote, the process begins earlier for U.S. citizens living abroad. As voting for American citizens abroad is largely conducted via post, the process has checks and balances to ensure the security and integrity of the vote, which means that you need to begin the process far in advance. 

Your first step should be to visit the website of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, to start the process of registering to vote and requesting your absentee ballot. 

“It’s incredibly easy to vote absentee (and I would argue even easier than voting in person). The city clerk of the last US town you lived in is your lifeline. Mine even emailed me a few weeks back reminding me to register to vote for the upcoming elections this fall.”   – Hannah Houseworth, Michigan, now in France

Their Online Assistant will help you through the process of registering, if you are not already, and filling out your ballot request, or Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)– which takes around two minutes to complete. When filling out the form, you can select the option to receive your blank ballot electronically to speed up the process.

From there, you’ll send your FPCA to your state’s election office by mail, fax or even email, depending on your state’s submission guidelines. FVAP recommends submitting your FPCA by the 1st of August.

If you would like further reminders and tips on absentee voting, you can sign up for email alerts here

Select your state to see specific guidelines and deadlines for absentee voting forms.

No matter where they are in the world, U.S. citizens can vote absentee in midterm elections. Photo: Getty Images 

The second step is to vote as soon as your blank ballot arrives. If you chose to receive your ballot electronically via the FPCA, you should receive it the day ballots are sent by your state’s election office: the 24th of September.  FVAP recommends U.S. citizens living overseas send their voted ballots back by the 24th of October to ensure your election office receives them in time. 

What is my voting residence? 

Your voting residence is the last address you had in the United States immediately prior to leaving for overseas. More information can be found here

“Easy-peazy. California sends me an email telling me my ballot’s on its way, I receive my ballot and voter guide via snail mail, I send the ballot back, and I get an email confirmation when they’ve received and counted it.

In-between all of that, I get friendly reminders from the state reminding me to send my ballot.” – Sarah Saromanos, California, now in France

Is voting by mail from overseas safe and secure?

Voting by mail from overseas is extremely secure, and upon receiving your ballot, there are a number of security measures undertaken not only to protect your vote but to ensure that it matches your identity. 

Furthermore, none of your personal information is saved while using FVAP’s Online Assistant to request an absentee ballot. You can be sure that you are not sharing your private data with any third parties at any point in the process. 

Voting this November is not only secure but there are a number of resources available to help you every step of the way. 

Get started today. Register and request your absentee ballot to vote in US midterm elections with the FPCA.

Member comments

  1. Maybe someone can answer this question. I have lived in Germany for 4 years. I am paid in euro and pay German taxes. I have no income in the US. I don’t want to have to deal with my old state of which I have no relationship with anymore. I also don’t follow their local politics. What happens if I vote using my old address? Will they start to treat me like I live there still? All of my personal mail in the US is sent to my sister’s house in another state but I have never lived there. It is all very confusing.

  2. Thank you for sharing this important information! I hope a much larger percentage of eligible Americans in Frace will vote in the midterms.

  3. If you don’t have any property there, I think you are ok (but I’m not a lawyer). To be safe, I vote in Federal elections, but not State or local. Then, there will not be any tax consequences from voting. You have to file a Federal tax return in any case, and I do.

  4. I’m now a permanent resident of France. Unfortunately I’m a U.S. citizen so I’ll have to pay taxes to the IRS as long as I live. A lot of the tax money is used to fund the endless U.S. wars. Taking care of its citizens have never been a priority. Funny thing is that my U.S. tax return contains 110 pages while my French tax return was only five pages. I will never vote in a U.S. election again. It’s a waste of time!

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PROFILE: Mette Frederiksen, the face of Denmark’s anti-immigration left

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, poised to form a new government after winning Denmark's election this week, is a social-media loving leader who has overseen her Social Democrats' monumental shift to a "zero refugee" policy.

PROFILE: Mette Frederiksen, the face of Denmark's anti-immigration left

The 44-year-old, a fan of canned mackerel and Instagram, became the country’s youngest prime minister in 2019 — a post she looks set to keep after her left-wing bloc secured a razor-thin majority in Tuesday’s legislative vote.

Frederiksen has been a source of inspiration for the hit political drama series Borgen, the show’s creators have said, with inevitable comparisons drawn to both the show’s main character Birgitte Nyborg and the fourth season prime minister Signe Kragh.

Like Nyborg, she is a mother-of-two with a reputation for making tough decisions — while Frederiksen’s age, party affiliation and abundant social media use are all reflected in Kragh.

The daughter of a typographer and a pre-school teacher, both longstanding members of the Social Democrats, Frederiksen was born in the working class northwest of Denmark.

She entered politics at an early age. In her early teens, she paid a membership fee to support the anti-apartheid ANC in South Africa.

Like many Scandinavian politicians, she rose up through the ranks of the youth league of her party, which she joined at 15, and entered parliament at the age of 24.

Described as a “fourth generation Social Democrat”, she enjoys broad support among Danes, with pre-election polls showing that 58 percent considered her the best candidate for the post of prime minister.

She has embraced social media in her politics, regularly taking to Instagram and Facebook to get her message out, and posting photos of herself as an average person enjoying pate or mackerel sandwiches — both modest staples of the Danish diet.

The opposition has at times mocked what they see as a member of the political elite playing people’s champion.

They are quick to point out that her portrayal of her simple life contrasts sharply with becoming a cabinet minister at the age of 33, and heir apparent of the Social Democrats, which she took over in 2015.

Mackerel and fine art

“Can you love mackerel in a can of tomato sauce and great literature at the same time? Can you like handball and go to the Royal Danish Theatre?” she said ahead of this year’s campaign.

“I don’t know about you, but I can,” Frederiksen declared.

Before succeeding the country’s first female prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as the head of Denmark’s largest party, Frederiksen served as employment minister and justice minister.

She went on to become prime minister after the 2019 election, and has since led an all-Social Democrat minority government.

Now she hopes to form a coalition government across the traditional left-right divide, which could reduce her dependence on her allies on the fringes.

‘Zero refugee’ policy

While her overall management of the country during the pandemic was praised, she has faced a barrage of criticism for her handling of the “mink affair”.

Faced with a worrying outbreak of a variant of the novel coronavirus in minks — with Denmark previously the world’s largest exporter of their furs — the centre-left leader ordered the culling of more than 15 million animals in November 2020.

Shortly after, but with the cull already under way, it was established that the government had no legal basis for imposing the cull on farmers, dealing a heavy blow to the prime minister.

In July 2022, a commission appointed to determine blame for the affair reprimanded Frederiksen but without any other consequence, known as “a nose” in Danish politics.

The affair ended up hurting her popularity.

A small party propping up her minority government threatened to topple it unless she called elections to regain voters’ confidence.

In the early 2000s, Frederiksen had denounced Denmark’s immigration policy as one of the “toughest in Europe”.

But, like most of the country’s political establishment, she has since changed her tune.

Advocating a “zero refugee” policy, her government has pursued a controversial project to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda while their applications are processed.

The country has also revoked residence permits for Syrians hailing from regions it considers safe.

Despite criticism from the UN and Brussels, Frederiksen has remained steadfast, earning her voters’ favour.

With 27.5 percent of the votes on Tuesday, her party achieved its best results in over two decades, despite an extremely fragmented political landscape.