Voting Assistance in the US Election from Canada

Edited by Vlada Taits

We all know how crucial this election is for the future of the United States and by virtue, the rest of the world. Countless American organizations, agencies, and non-profits have gone to the streets in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic mobilizing voters to vote in this election. However, the work does not end there. Their efforts have extended up North to Canada to encourage American citizens to participate in this election, seeing as more American voters reside in Canada than almost any other country outside of the US. Data from the 2016 election conducted by The U.S. Federal Voting Assistance Program reported that there were more than 620,000 American voters residing in Canada (including dual citizens and permanent residence holders). In Toronto, there are approximately 38,000 eligible voters alone. 

More eligible voters live in Canada than states like Alaska, Wyoming, or Vermont. They have the ability to create palpable change in US politics with their vote. However, that all depends on how many actually go through with the voting process. The U.S. FVAP (U.S. Federal Voting Assistance Program) said that only five percent of eligible voters in Canada cast their ballot during the last election. If you are an American citizen living in Canada, here is a short and easy list of ways to receive assistance during the voting process.

1. US Embassy and Consulate 

If you are experiencing a hard time sending in your absentee ballot, try contacting the US Embassy in Ottawa, or Consulates General in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. You can also mail or fax your completed forms and ballot to your local elections office. The US embassy in Canada has also asked that if you plan to return your ballot to election officials by way of the Embassy or any of the Consulates in Canada, it should be sent by October 13th at the latest. Nevertheless, this should be a last resort in the case that issues arise with your absentee ballot through the normal Canada Post mail.

You can contact the US Embassy or any Consulate through their websites:

2. Federal Voting Assistance Program

COVID-19 has created more mail disruption abroad than almost any other U.S. election in history. This makes it harder than ever for American citizens in Canada to make sure their ballot gets delivered in a timely manner. The Federal Voting Assistance Program provides a step by step guide to register to vote and attain your absentee ballot as well as how to return it to election officials. You can register and request a ballot through FVAP.gov. They suggest using the Federal Post Card Application at FVAP.gov/FPCA in order to request your absentee ballot. Remember, all U.S. states have different deadlines for registering to vote so, make sure to check with your state regulations.

For more information on Canadian mail service, refer to the Canada Post’s COVID-19 page. FVAP can be reached at 1-800-438-8683 (weekdays 7:30AM to 4:00PM EDT) or by email at [email protected].  

3. Democrats Abroad 

Democrats Abroad has also provided non-partisan information sessions to help voters abroad with any questions or concerns. The sessions are available any Sunday until November from midnight to midnight EST to answer any questions about the voting process abroad LIVE on Zoom. The Zoom sessions are also provided on Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays. To contact Democrats Abroad, send an email to [email protected].

 

Connection details:

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/91090344003

Meeting number: 910 9034 4003

Password: Vote2020

 

Good luck to everyone voting, and may the election go in your favour!

 

Sources:

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2020/08/24/americans-in-canada-simply-must-vote-in-this-us-election.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2020/09/05/us-get-out-the-vote-efforts-reaches-out-to-canadian-residents-and-donald-trumps-fate-might-be-at-stake.html

https://www.democratsabroad.org/