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US presidential election: Deadline for UAE voters to submit ballots announced

Wam/Dubai
Filed on September 24, 2020

There are 75,000 US citizens in the UAE, according to The US Mission in the UAE.

Thousands of US citizens in the UAE voting for the presidential election have to complete the process latest by September 30, if they want to utilise the voter assistance offered by the US diplomatic missions, an official said on Thursday.

"If people are returning ballots through us, we recommend all absentee ballots be delivered to the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi or US Consulate General in Dubai on or before Wednesday, September 30," Daniela Zadrozny, Consular Chief at the US Consulate General in Dubai, told Wam.

However, submitting the voted ballot at the US diplomatic missions in the UAE is an option; alternatively, voters can directly send it to their local election officials in the US before the deadlines, Zadrozny clarified.

Methods to submit ballot "Various states have different deadlines. The actual times in the US will usually be on or around election day [November 3]. People are welcome to send their ballots on their own via other means; we just offer the collection and sending as voter assistance," Zadrozny said.

She advised the voters to check their voter registration deadline based on their state on the website of the US Federal Voting Assistance Programme, FVAP.

Importance of overseas voters "If US citizen voters have not completed the voter registration process, we encourage them to do so immediately. The process to register to vote and submitt the ballot is fast, easy and an important part of being an American overseas!" the diplomat stressed.
About the importance of overseas voting, ?she pointed out that there were instances of US elections for the House and Senate having been decided by a margin smaller than the number of ballots cast by absentee voters.

All states are required to count every absentee ballot as along as it is valid and reaches local election officials by the absentee ballot receipt deadline, Zadrozny said.

Number of overseas voters The US Mission in the UAE estimates there are 75,000 US citizens living in the UAE, as of April 2020.

Asked about the number of voters in the UAE, she said the US Mission does not have the number of voters here because the election and voter registration are managed individually by the states and territories.

However, Zadrozny cited an FVAP study published in July 2020, analysing the overseas citizen population during the 2018 US midterm election. The study found that the global rate of overseas voter participation was 4.7 percent and 1.9 percent in the Middle East. An estimated 2.9 million voting age US citizens are living abroad, based on state and local government absentee ballot records, the study revealed.

For the US presidential election in 2016, the global participation for rate for overseas voters was 7.8 percent and 4.8 percent in the Middle East. FVAP did not provide data for changes in eligible or registered voters since 2018, the diplomat said.

Registration and voting process Regarding the registration and voting process for overseas voters, the Consular Chief explained that all US citizen voters can request to receive their absentee ballots electronically. Depending on the state in which they are eligible to vote, they may get their ballot by email, fax, or internet download.

Voters should visit FVAP.gov to connect with their state's voter portal to register to vote and request an absentee ballot, she said.

If voters have not received their absentee ballot 30 days prior to the election, they should complete and submit the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, FWAB, to ensure their vote is received in time to be counted, she added.

Preparations in UAE Talking about the arrangements for voters in the UAE, she said the embassy and the consulate are accepting election materials, including absentee ballots, on working days from 8:00am to 4:00pm, and US citizens do not need to make an appointment to submit their election materials.

When dropping their ballot at the missions, voters should bring a self-addressed, and self-stamped envelope. Security will screen the envelope and return it to the voter who may seal the envelope, which is then deposited into the secure drop box.

The sealed absentee ballots in the locked ballot box are securely transferred from the US missions to local election officials in the US, the Consular Chief said.


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