Skip to main content

I’m a U.S. citizen living overseas

There are two types of Overseas voters in Wisconsin: Temporarily Overseas Voters and Permanently Overseas voters.  Please see the information that follows to learn more about the differences between the two categories:

Who is a “Temporary Overseas Voter”?

A U.S. citizen who is not disqualified from voting under Wis. Stat. s. 6.03, who qualifies as a resident of Wisconsin, and has attained or will attain the age of 18 by the date of an election at which the citizen proposes to vote. Temporary Overseas Voters are Wisconsin residents who are temporarily living outside the United States and who intend to return to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s temporary overseas voters may now receive their absentee ballots electronically – by email or fax – making it easier to vote when they are outside the country. They may now also use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).

How do Temporary Overseas Voters Register?

Temporary Overseas Voters must be registered to vote, and are required to provide proof of residence when registering. Please note that the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) serves as both a voter registration form and absentee ballot request.

How do Temporary Overseas Voters Request Absentee Ballots?

Temporary Overseas Voters may request a ballot by mail, fax or email. Overseas voters have until 5 p.m. on the 5th day before the election to make a request.  An absentee ballot request may be made online at or by fax or email to the municipal clerk.

How do Temporary Overseas Voters get their ballots?

The ballot is mailed, faxed or emailed per the voter’s request. If the voter does not specify the means of transmission, the clerk may send the ballot via whatever means are practical to expedite receipt of the ballot by the voter.  

What if the absentee ballot doesn't arrive in time?

Temporary Overseas Voters who do not receive their ballots in time may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which is available online [insert link] and at U.S. embassies. Please consult the directory of U.S. Embassy web sites.

How do they return their ballots?

All voted absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. All voted absentee ballots must be returned by mail to the clerk's office and cannot be returned electronically.

Who is a “Permanent Overseas Voter”?

You are a permanent overseas voter if you are a U.S. citizen who last resided in Wisconsin, or your parent last resided in Wisconsin, before moving to a foreign country, and you have no intent to return to your prior municipality in Wisconsin. 

Registering to Vote- Permanent Overseas Voters

·       A permanent overseas voter is required to register to vote, but is not required to provide proof of residence

Requesting an Absentee Ballot- Permanent Overseas Voters

·        Unlike a regular voter or a temporarily overseas voter, a permanent overseas voter can request and receive an absentee ballot online at MyVote WI:

·        You can also complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and mail it to your municipal clerk (the FPCA serves as both voter registration AND absentee ballot request)

·       Permanent overseas electors who are not registered must postmark their registration by the 3rd Wednesday before the election in order to vote

·       Permanent overseas electors can request an absentee ballot up until 5 p.m. on the 5th day before the election

·       Permanent overseas voters are only eligible to vote in elections that contain a federal office

Receiving Your Absentee Ballot as a Permanent Overseas Voter

·       Overseas electors can choose to receive their absentee ballot by mail, email, fax or online.  You may not return your absentee ballot electronically.

·       Since September 20, 2012, overseas electors can access their absentee ballots online at MyVote WI:

·       If the absentee ballot does not arrive in time, you may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), which is available online, and at U.S. embassies

Voting and Returning Your Absentee Ballot as a Permanent Overseas Voter

·       You may only vote for federal offices

·       You must mark your ballot in the presence of a witness who is a U.S. citizen

·       After you vote your ballot, place it in the envelope, and complete the absentee ballot certification

·       Make sure you sign and date the certificate, provide your date of birth, and have a U.S. citizen sign as a witness, and provide the witness' address

·       Return your absentee ballot to your municipal clerk by mail

·       The absentee ballot must be postmarked by Election Day, and received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.  The U.S. Postal Service recommends absentee ballots be mailed one week before Election Day to arrive on time


Back to Voter Information Center