Registering to Vote
If you are one of the following:
- Members of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
- or Spouses or dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
- or Activated National Guard member on State orders
You should register to vote using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form and select the appropriate box to indicate your eligibility. The FPCA forms are available at any Registrar of Voters office, with the Voting Assistance Officer of any military base or at any American Consulate office. The form must be received by the Registrar of Voters office no later than 15 days prior to an election.
The Federal Post Card Application form is for citizens living outside the United States, absent Uniformed Service members and their families. It is used to register to vote, request a Vote by Mail ballot, and update your contact information.
In Section 5 of the Federal Post Card Application form, please indicate how you would like to receive your ballot. You may choose to receive your ballot by mail, email or online, or fax. If you do not make a selection, your ballot will be mailed to you. If you are requesting your ballot be delivered by email or fax, please be sure you include an accurate email address or fax number in section 4.
Deadlines for Registration and/or Requesting an Military Ballot
The last day to register and/or request an military ballot by mail is 15 days prior to an election, after which Vote by Mail ballots are available by applying in person at the Registrar of Voters Office.
Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)
If you do not receive your Vote by Mail ballot in enough time to meet California deadlines, the FWAB serves as a backup ballot. FVAP.gov offers a FWAB Online Assistant that guides users through the form-completion process, as well as, a fillable PDF form of the FWAB for download.
Voting While in the Military
While you are on active duty (or you are an eligible spouse or dependent), you will be sent the following materials approximately 60-45 days before an election:
This information will be delivered to you based on the preferred method for ballot receipt (email, fax, or mail) indicated in Section 5 of your Federal Post Card Application.
Returning a Voted Military Ballot
Military voters may return ballots by fax or mail; they may not be returned by email.
Note: Voted military ballots postmarked before or on Election Day must be received in the Registrar of Voters office via USPS or bona fide private mail delivery company no later than three days after election day.
Alternatively, voted military ballots can be hand-delivered by 8:00 PM on Election Day at either of the following:
Military voters can fax their voted ballots to (707) 565-6862 or mail them to Sonoma County Registrar of Voters, P.O. Box 11485, Santa Rosa, CA 95406-1485. Voted ballots may not be returned by email.
Important: Do not forget to sign and date the identification envelope for your ballot to count.
Vote by Mail Status Lookup
If you would like to verify that your ballot has been received and processed, you can visit the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Vote by Mail Ballot Status Lookup tool or you may visit the California Secretary of State Status lookup. The Secretary of State now maintains a statewide data base that is update in near real time.
Update Your Information
If you are still serving in the military and need to update or change your ballot delivery method, provide a new mailing address, or update your email address, submit a new Federal Post Card Application.
Leaving the Military
Important: If you leave the military (or lose your status as an eligible spouse or dependent), you must immediately re-register to vote using a regular voter registration form (available on the California Secretary of State’s web site). Registration deadline is 15 days prior to the election, after that, you will have to visit the Registrar of Voters office to re-register.