Pima County Recorder Seal Pima County Recorder's Office
F. Ann Rodriguez, Pima County Recorder  
F. Ann Rodriguez

Pima County

Voter FAQs - Military and Overseas

Who qualifies as a military voter?
A military voter is defined under both state and federal law as a person who is on active duty status in any branch of the United States armed forces and including any of their dependents.

Who qualifies as an overseas voter?
An overseas voter is defined by state and federal law as any United States citizen who is currently residing outside the territorial limits of the United States or any of its territories whether it be temporarily or permanently.

Are the voter registration and early voting rules different for Military and Overseas voters than for other voters?
Yes. Military personnel, their dependents and people residing outside the United States are not able to vote in person since they are generally not able to travel to their polling places on election day. In order to make the voting process easier for these citizens, Congress enacted the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). The Arizona Legislature has also separately adopted many provisions of that act into state law and has made other provisions to make the voting process more convenient for the military and overseas citizen. These rules make it easier for military and overseas voters to register and to vote from remote locations.

How are the voter registration rules different for the military/overseas voter?
There is a different voter registration form, different voter registration deadlines, different ballot transmission procedures and different deadlines for requesting a ballot. Instead of using the Arizona voter registration form, the military/overseas voter should complete the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form. This form is available from the elections officer at any United States military installation worldwide and is also available at any United States embassy or consulate office worldwide. The form is also available online at the Federal Voting Assistance Project website, www.fvap.gov. The Pima County Recorder's Office also has a supply of these forms available.

The FPCA form is used not only as a voter registration form, but also as a request to receive ballots by mail. The form is valid for one federal election cycle from the date it is completed and sent to the Recorder’s Office. A federal election cycle is defined as a regular election resulting in the election of members of Congress. These elections occur every two years in August and November of the even numbered year.

You also pick how you want the ballot sent to you. You may select regular mail, email or transmission by fax. Once you complete the form and send it to the appropriate registration office, you do not have to request a ballot to be sent to you. It will be sent automatically for each election involving your voting residence address.

What do I need to do to complete the FPCA form?
Once you have obtained the form, you must complete the form and send it to our office if you are a Pima County voter. The FPCA form is used in all 50 states and some of the information lines do not apply to all of the states. In Arizona you only need to provide the last four digits of your social security number and you do not need to answer the questions regarding your gender or race (see box 4 of the FPCA form). You do not need to have anyone witness your signature for Arizona registrations.

In Arizona you are not required to select a political party affiliation (box 2) in order to register. However, see the detailed party affiliation answer below.

The form asks you to rank your preferred method of ballot transmission. The Pima County Recorder’s office will send your ballot based on your number 1 ranked choice. If you select electronic transmission (either by email or by fax), no ballot will be mailed to you by regular mail.

In order to submit the FPCA form to the Pima County Recorder’s Office, your residence address (box 7) must be in Pima County, Arizona. See the residence address information below.

If you are registering to vote for the first time in Pima County, you must provide evidence of your United States citizenship at the time you submit the FPCA form. See the detailed answer below for acceptable evidence of proof of citizenship.

Once you have completed the FPCA form, you can send the form to the Pima County Recorder’s office by mail, fax or by email.
The mailing address is Pima County Recorder’s Office, PO Box 3145, Tucson AZ 85702-3145.
The fax number is (520) 623-1785
The email address is ballots@recorder.pima.gov

What is my voting residence address if I am in military service?
The UOCAVA mandates that for voting purposes, military personnel’s residence location is defined as their residence that they regularly occupied prior to going to active duty. The military personnel’s residence address does not change at any time during their military career until they leave active duty. Even if you have decided never to return to your prior address, that remains your residence address for voting purposes as long as you are on active duty status.

What is my voting residence address if I am a dependent of active military personnel?
The rules for a military dependent are very similar to the rules for active duty military personnel. The residence address is deemed to be the address you occupied prior to the military family member moving to active duty status. This is true even if you never resided at that address. So if you are a child of a career soldier and were born after they went to active duty status, your residence address would be the same as the military member's voting residence address.

Unlike the active duty military personnel, a dependent has the right to change their residence address during the soldier’s active duty status. If you are living in a location outside Pima County and decide that you wish to be a resident there, you may change your residence location and register to vote that location. You would need to follow the residence rules of that jurisdiction in order to qualify there.

What is my voting residence address if I am a United States citizen residing overseas?
Under UOCAVA, your residence address is deemed to be the last residence address you occupied on a regular basis before you left the United States. That will remain your residence address for voting purposes until you return to the United States to live. Even if you decide that you will not be returning to the United States, that remains your residence address.

What documentation do I need to establish my United State’s citizenship?
If you have an Arizona driver’s license or identification card issued by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division and these were issued after October 1, 1996, the number from the license or identification card can be used to establish citizenship. You may also use a copy of your birth certificate, the pages from your United States passport that contain your photograph, identification information and signature. If you are Native American, you can use your Bureau of Indian Affairs card number, Tribal treaty card number or Tribal enrollment number. If you are a Naturalized citizen, you can provide a copy of your naturalization certificate or the alien registration number from that certificate.

A driver’s license from any state other than Arizona, a voter registration card or a military identification card cannot be used to establish citizenship.

When are ballots sent to military and overseas voters?
Under federal law, the deadline to start sending ballots to military and overseas voters is 45 days prior to Election Day and that day always falls on a Saturday. In Pima County we begin mailing ballots or transmitting ballots electronically on the 46th day prior to Election Day and that date always falls on a Friday. Any military/overseas voter who has submitted a complete FPCA form by the 47th day prior to Election Day will have their ballot sent on the 46th day. Military and Overseas voters who submit their request after that date will have their ballot mailed or transmitted the next business day after receipt of the request by the Pima County Recorder’s Office or earlier if possible.

The FPCA from asks me to rank my choice for how I receive my ballot by either regular mail, fax or by email if the transmission method is available in my home state. Are all three available in Arizona?
Yes. Arizona law allows a military/overseas voter to both receive and return their ballot by all three methods of transmission. The choice for how you wish to receive your ballot is up to you. You can also choose a different method to return your ballot from the one used to receive your ballot. In other words, you chose to receive your ballot by regular mail, but you may still chose to return your voted ballot by mail, fax or by email.

I received my ballot by mail. Can I return it by fax or email?
Yes. The choice in how you return your voted ballot is entirely up to you and is not determined by the choice you made on your FPCA form on how you wanted to receive your ballot. If you received your ballot by mail, you may return the voted ballot by mail, email or fax. Likewise, if you received your ballot by fax, you may return it by regular mail, fax or email. The same is true for ballots received by email.

You should make your decision based on what transmission resources you have available to you and how close you are to Election Day. Under Arizona law, all ballots must be received by the Recorder’s Office no later than 7:00 p.m. Arizona time on Election Day in order to be counted. If you do not have sufficient time to mail the ballot to the Recorder’s Office by regular mail in order for it to arrive in Tucson by the deadline, you should consider the electronic transmission choices for returning your ballot.

I have already mailed my voted ballot back, but I am not certain that it will arrive in Pima County by the 7:00 p.m. deadline. What should I do?
If you have already mailed your ballot back but do not believe it will arrive in time to be valid, we recommend that you send your ballot electronically by either fax or email. Our system is set up so that only one ballot from each voter will be counted. So if you decide to send the ballot back by multiple transmission methods to be certain we receive it, the first one we receive will be the one counted. Due to the unreliable nature of some foreign postal systems, we do not consider this an attempt to vote twice.

You can track the status of your ballot online by Clicking Here and entering your information. As soon as possible after we receive your ballot we will make available the return date on our website link. You will also be able to track the ballot through our processes including validation of your signature and handing it over for tabulation.

You will also be able to find out from our office if we received your ballot and it has been validated. You can obtain this information through our website as well as by calling our office on the toll free number 1-800-775-7462 extension 44330

Do I need to submit a new FPCA form for each federal election cycle?
Yes. Federal law requires military and overseas voters to submit a new FPCA form every regularly scheduled federal election cycle in order to keep your military/overseas status.

Am I required by Arizona law to make a political party affiliation choice?
No. Under Arizona law, a voter who has decided not to be a member of one of the major political parties is still eligible to vote in most primary elections. Arizona uses a modified version of the open primary system. If you have designated one of the major political party affiliations on the FPCA form, you may only vote in that political party’s primary election. If you do not designate one of the major political party affiliations, you may still vote in ONE of the major party’s primary election. What that means is that you must specify which party ballot you wish to receive and vote in that particular primary election BEFORE a ballot will be sent to you. Once you have made that choice, you cannot change your mind for that primary election cycle. So if you are a voter who designated no party affiliation, you may vote in either the Democratic, Republican or Green Party primary, but not in two or all three. You must make that designation before a ballot will be sent, we cannot send all three. If you do not make a designation, no primary election ballot will be sent to you.

The exceptions to the open primary rule are for the Presidential Preference election that happens in March of each presidential election year. That election is a "closed” election, so that by law, only voters who are actually registered as members of the political party may vote.

How secure is the electronic transmission method?
The Pima County Recorder’s Office has two fax machines located in a secured area in our office. The fax machines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The machines are checked at the beginning of each shift and at the end of each shift. In addition, during election cycles the machines are checked regularly during the day. Any ballot that is transmitted through the fax machine is quickly examined to determine that the entire ballot has been transmitted and then sealed in an envelope. The sealed ballot is then secured with all other ballots received by our office.

The Recorder’s Office email account for military/overseas ballots is ballots@recorder.pima.gov. The mail box is protected by two firewalls and is a limited access account. Only a couple of staff members have access to that account. When an emailed ballot is received, the ballot is quickly reviewed to make certain the transmission is complete. It is then printed out and immediately sealed in an envelope and placed with all other ballots by mail in a secured location. The electronic version of the ballot is then deleted from our system.

The staff who examine the ballots on both the fax machines and the email process have been trained to review the ballots without looking at the boxes marked by the voter. This way we can protect the privacy of your ballot at the same time we make certain that the transmission is complete.

How do I know if my electronically transmitted ballot was received?
You can track the status of your ballot by Clicking Here. Enter the requested information and you will be able to see the status of your ballot by mail including when it was received, when your signature was verified and when it was sent for tabulation.

It is the policy of the Recorder’s Office to send an email acknowledging the receipt of all emailed ballots after they have been reviewed and processed. If there was a problem in the transmission so that we received only a portion of the ballot, you will be notified of that situation by email.

Since most fax machines have an internal log to indicate a successful transmission of a fax, the Recorder’s Office does not routinely send acknowledgments of receipt of faxed ballots. However, if there was a problem with the transmission, we will notify the voter by email, phone or by return fax, whichever is available.

Any overseas or military voter can also contact the Recorder’s Office by phone, fax or email to obtain confirmation of receipt of the ballot. You can also check the status of your ballot online through our website. Please allow at least two business days for processing time from the date of electronic transmission before contacting our office.

I am only interested in the federal races but the ballot also contains local races and a number of propositions. Am I required to vote the entire ballot to have my votes count?
No. You can vote any portion of the ballot that you wish. If you decide not to vote on some portions, just leave those blank. That will not affect the validity of your ballot.

Since I am only interested in the federal races, why do you send me a ballot with the local issues?
Under UOCAVA and Arizona law, if you are a resident of Pima County, you are entitled to vote in any election involving your residence address. We are therefore required to send you a ballot covering all races and issues. It is your decision to make whether or not you want to vote on all candidates/issues on your ballot.

Will my registration status be changed if I do not vote in an election?
No. Your voting status does not change if you decide to vote or not. Your registration status could change if you have changed your overseas/military mailing address or the electronic transmission choice without updating your voter registration. If ballots are not deliverable to you based on the information you provided on the FPCA form or if mailed ballots are returned undeliverable, the automatic transmission of ballots will stop and you will be moved to inactive status. If you stay on inactive status through two federal election cycles without updating your registration or voting, your registration will be cancelled.

What is a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot?
A Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot is a special ballot mandated by UOCAVA for voters that need more than the normal time for receipt of mailed ballots. If you are in an area of the world with unreliable or inconsistent postal delivery, you may request a Federal Write-In Absentee ballot from our office. These ballots are also available at any United States embassy or consulate office.

The ballot is a paper ballot that lists no candidate or office. You simply write in the name of the candidates for House of Representatives, United States Senate or President or the political party affiliation of the candidate you wish to vote for. Then seal that ballot in the appropriate write in ballot envelope and send it to our office. These ballots are often available earlier than 45 days prior to election day. In Arizona the write-in ballot may also be transmitted electronically by either fax or email.

The write-in ballot limits you to voting only for the federal candidates. Therefore it is the policy of the Pima County Recorder's Office to send a regular ballot to all voters who have also requested the Federal Write-In Absentee ballot in order to give you the opportunity to vote on state issues if you wish. In the case of a Write-In ballot, the ballot will be held until 7:00 p.m. on election day to provide sufficient time for return of the regular ballot.

The Write-In Absentee Ballot form indicates a notary signature may be required. Does Arizona require a notary?
No. There is no notary requirement in Arizona.

When is the last day that I can register to vote?
It depends on your status. If you are active duty military personnel or a dependent and you are PHYSICALLY OUTSIDE THE STATE OF ARIZONA, you may register to vote using the FPCA form. Your form must be received by the Recorder’s Office no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election day, Arizona time.

If you are active duty military personnel or a dependent and you ARE RESIDING IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA, your registration must be completed and transmitted to the Recorder’s Office no later than midnight on the 29th day prior to election day.

An overseas citizen may register to vote up to 7:00 p.m. on election day, Arizona time.

I have been living outside the United States but recently moved back. What is the voter registration cutoff date?
If you moved to Pima County within the 90 days prior to election day, you may register to vote up to 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before election day. You should register to vote in person at the Pima County Recorder’s Office and bring evidence of your return date with you. If you moved back into the United States and Pima County more than 90 days prior to Election Day, your registration deadline is midnight on the 29th day prior to Election Day.

I was recently discharged from active duty in the military and I have moved to Pima County. What is my deadline to register to vote?
If you were released from active duty within the 90 days preceding an election, you may register to vote until 5:00 p.m. on the Friday prior to election day. You will need to bring in proof of your release from active duty and register in person at the Pima County Recorder’s Office locations. If you were released from active duty more than 90 days before Election Day, the deadline to register to vote is midnight on the 29th day prior to Election Day.

I am a United States citizen, but I have never resided in the United States but one of my parents was last a resident of Pima County. Can I register to vote in Pima County?
It depends. Under Arizona law you are eligible to vote in Pima County if your parent is currently registered to vote in Pima County. If your parent is not registered to vote in this county, then you are not eligible to vote here.

If you are able to register here, you will only be permitted to vote by Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot for federal offices. Since you have never resided here, you are not eligible to vote in local matters.

Do I have to be registered to vote already to request a ballot?
No. If you contact the Recorder’s Office by mail, fax or email and indicate that you are a United States citizen and a resident of Pima County and want to vote, we will send you an FPCA form and the ballot by mail for your Pima County residence address. You will then have until 7:00 p.m. (Arizona time) on election day to return both the FPCA form and the ballot by mail. The ballot will not be counted without the receipt and validation of your FPCA form, including providing proof of United States citizenship.

Is there a deadline for requesting a ballot?
A military or overseas voter may request a ballot up until 7:00 p.m. on election day. At the end of the election cycle, it is recommended that you use either fax or email for the receipt of your ballot. The voted ballot must be back in possession of the Recorder’s Office by 7:00 p.m. on election day (Arizona time) in order to be counted. We recommend that you do not wait until the last minute to request a ballot or register to vote if at all possible. The Recorder’s Office receives large numbers of requests just prior to Election Day and we process them in the order received. If you wait to the last minutes or hours to request your ballot, we will try to get to your request in time, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to get to all requests in time.

I mailed my ballot prior to election day so that it will be postmarked in advance of the election. Will that ballot count?
It depends on when it was received. Under Arizona law, the post mark is not relevant to determining if a ballot is timely. The ballot must be physically within the possession of the Recorder’s Office by 7:00 p.m. Arizona time on election day in order to be counted.

The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot envelope is very similar to an FPCA form. Can this be used as a registration form?
Yes. Arizona law allows the completed Federal Write-In Absentee ballot material to be used as a voter registration form. However, you must include proof of United States citizenship with that form for it to be valid.

Is there another source of information available for military and overseas voters through the internet concerning their voting rights?
The Federal Voting Assistance Program is tasked with providing information to all United States citizens who are military or overseas voters. That federal agency has developed a website that provides information for voters who are residents of all 50 states. You can review the Arizona rules in detail as well as download an FPCA form from that site. The site can be found at www.fvap.gov.

Additional information is also available from the elections officer at any United States military installation worldwide or at any United States embassy or consulate office.

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