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Military and Overseas FAQs

Who Can Register to Vote as a Military/Overseas Voter?

In order to register to vote as a military/overseas voter, a person must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Be a resident of California;
  • Be at least 18 years of age on the day of the next election;
  • Not be in prison for the conviction of a felony;
  • Not be deemed by an appropriate court to be mentally incompetent;
  • Be in the military or a spouse or dependent of someone in the military or armed services;
  • Be overseas temporarily or by virtue of employment;
  • Be overseas indefinitely. We offer an online military and overseas voter portal to assist you.


How Do I Register to Vote If I am in the Military or Overseas?

To register to vote, you must obtain and complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The FPCA can be accessed using our online military and overseas voter portal, or by calling the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ Overseas Specialist at 714-567-7560.


How Do I Return My FPCA?

You can return your FPCA by mail, fax, or scan to email.


What is the Deadline to Register to Vote?

You must be registered to vote at least 15 days prior to any election, and to receive a Voter Information Guide, you must be registered to vote by 29 days prior to any election. 


What Address Do I Use as My Residential Address on the FPCA?

You must use your last known U.S. residential address. You do not need to own the residence, live at the address, or have mail sent to it.


I Forgot My Last Known Orange County Address; What Should I Do?

It is acceptable to provide the major cross streets, closest to that address.


Do I Need to Have a Witness or a Notary Public Sign My FPCA?

No. California does not require either to sign the form.


Do I Need to Re-Register to Vote Every Year?

No. You do not need to re-register to vote every year. Your registration will remain active until you cancel it; however, you need to re-register if you change your address, political party, or name.


For What Reasons Does a Person Need to Re-Register to Vote?

When a person changes his/her address; changes his/her political party; or has a name change. 


Can an Ex-Felon Register to Vote and Be Eligible to Vote?

Yes, an ex-felon may register to vote and is eligible to vote in elections if he/she is not currently in prison for a felony conviction. 


My Family Member is not Available to Register to Vote. Am I Allowed to Register for Him/Her?

No. He/she must sign the voter registration affidavit in his/her own handwriting under penalty of perjury. He/she can complete the voter registration affidavit and mail it from wherever he/she is located.


I Did Not Vote in the Last Election. Do I Need To Re-Register?

No. In general, a person is registered for as long as he/she lives at the same address. The person should continue to receive election materials.


What Should I Do When I Return to the U.S.?

You will need to complete a registration affidavit. You may use our online voter registration system (which still requires an original signature), or you may pick-up an affidavit at the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana or at any local post office, library, and city hall; or you can also have one mailed to you by calling the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ Overseas Specialist at 714-567-7560.


When Will My Vote-By-Mail Ballot be Sent to Me?

If you are in the military or overseas, your ballot will be mailed not earlier than 60 days prior to the election but not later than 45 days prior to the election.


For Which Candidates and Local Measures am I Eligible to Vote?

You may vote for all contests on the ballot for which you are eligible to vote as if you were residing at your last known U.S. address.


By What Methods Can I Receive My Vote-By-Mail Ballot (VBM)?

You may receive your ballot by mail, email, or fax.


By What Methods Can I Return My Ballot?

Your ballot can be returned either by mail or fax.


I Did Not Receive My Ballot; What Can I Do?

Visit our military/overseas portal here. You may download your ballot and all election materials necessary for you to vote and return your ballot from our military and overseas voter portal.


Can I Check the Status of My Returned Vote-By-Mail Ballot?

Yes. You may track your vote-by-mail ballot using our online tool. 


When Must I Return My Vote-By-Mail Ballot?

All ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day. Your ballot will be counted if it is postmarked on time and received up to 7 days after Election Day. View Vote-by-Mail instructions for Military/Overseas Voters here.