The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is a Federal law providing the legal basis for the absentee voting requirements for overseas citizens in federal elections. UOCAVA citizens are U.S. Citizens who are active members of the Uniformed Services, the Merchant Marines, and the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, their eligible family members and U.S. Citizens residing outside of the United States. If you are a UOCAVA voter or you have any questions about the UOCAVA voting process, please do not hesitate to contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program or Lynne Laseter at the Putnam County Board of Elections and Registration.
Requesting a UOCAVA Ballot
UOCAVA voters may request a ballot one of two ways, either by using the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) or by filling out the Georgia Absentee Ballot Application and noting a UOCAVA status under the exceptions.
Federal Postcard Application
The Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) fulfills the role of both a voter registration application and an absentee ballot application. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) encourages UOCAVA voters to submit a new FPCA each January to ensure that their contact information and voter registration is up to date. Postage for the FPCA is prepaid, voters may download templates to print postage paid envelopes for voting materials from the FVAP website. A fillable FPCA can be found here and the FPCA instructions for Georgia here. UOCAVA voters submitting a FPCA will receive ballots for the Presidential Preference Primary, the General Primary, and the General Election.
Georgia Absentee Ballot Application
The Georgia Absentee Ballot Application is only for requesting an absentee ballot and cannot be used as a voter registration application. When completing an absentee ballot application, UOCAVA voters should designate the type of UOCAVA category that best describes their situation; MOS, MST, OST, or OSP.
- A member of the armed forces stationed overseas.
- A member of the armed forces living away from home, usually on a base outside of the state in which they are registered to vote.
- Citizen of the United States currently living overseas. They do plan to return to the US.
- Citizen of the United States currently living overseas. Whether or not they will return to the US is unknown.
UOCAVA voters who submit an application will receive ballots for the Presidential Preference Primary, the General Primary, and the General Election.
Receiving a UOCAVA Ballot
UOCAVA ballots are the only ballots that can be delivered to voters electronically through Electronic Ballot Delivery (EBD). A UOCAVA voter must specify on their ballot that they wish to receive their ballot through EBD and provide a working email address. EBD ballots are emailed to voters beginning 45 days prior to the election. The Friday immediately preceding the election is the last day in which ballots of any type can be transmitted to voters either by EBD or through the mail. Voters wishing to have their ballots physically mailed to them should apply as early as possible to ensure that their ballot reaches them in time.
Returning a UOCAVA Ballot
UOCAVA ballots must be returned via physical mail. No ballot, even those delivered to voters through EBD, will be accepted if returned to the registrar by any other method. Unlike normal absentee ballots, UOCAVA ballots postmarked by election day can be received up to 3 days following election day and still be counted.
UOCAVA voters who are unable to receive, complete, and return their absentee ballots by the deadline are not out of luck. Depending on the situation, voters who find themselves in need of an emergency ballot can submit either the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) or the State Write-In Absentee Ballot (SWAB). The major differences between the two are that the SWAB is intended to be used for runoff elections only, whereas the FWAB can be used in general, runoff, or special elections. Unlike a FWAB, a SWAB is included in every UOCAVA ballot packet that is issued to a voter.