Military & Overseas Citizens -- Absentee Voting

Military and overseas citizens are provided with special procedures and protections under federal and state law to help these citizens overcome barriers to voter registration and absentee voting caused by their service or residence overseas and in remote locations. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) covers:
  • members of the United States Uniformed Services and merchant marine;
  • their family members; and
  • United States citizens residing outside the United States.

Electronic Voting Accessibility Tool (EVAT)

EVAT allows UOCAVA voters to access, mark, and print their ballots.  The ballot must then be returned to the voter's county voter registration office by mail, fax, or email.  EVAT also allows citizens who have not already submitted their Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to upload their FPCA to become a UOCAVA voter.  EVAT reduces the time it takes UOCAVA voters to vote by eliminating the step of the county voter registration office sending the voter a ballot.  Using EVAT, the voter can access the ballot online, mark it, and print it for return to the county voter registration office.  Click the header above to access EVAT and begin the absentee process immediately.


Other important UOCAVA information:

Military and overseas citizens can use the FPCA to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) South Carolina-specific page.  Once the FPCA is submitted and processed, the voter is tagged as a UOCAVA vote.  This designation lasts until the end of the year it was submitted.

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's South Carolina-specific page.

Federal law requires absentee ballots to be sent to military and overseas citizens at least 45 days prior to an election.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices.  The FWAB may also be used  to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's South Carolina-specific page.

Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)

Instant Runoff Voting allows military and overseas citizens to rank candidates in a primary to be used in the event of a runoff.

In South Carolina, a candidate must receive more than 50% of the vote in a primary to win a party's nomination.  If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a primary runoff is held two weeks later between the top two candidates.  In many cases, two weeks is not enough time for military and overseas citizens to receive and return a traditional absentee ballot.  To solve this problem, all military and overseas citizens receive an IRV ballot with their primary ballot.

The IRV ballot allows the voter to rank the candidates in contests that have the potential for a runoff (i.e., contests with three or more candidates).  In the event of a primary runoff, the highest ranked candidate of the two remaining will receive the voter's vote.


For general information on voter registration and absentee voting by military & overseas citizens visit the Federal Voting Assistance program's main page.

Our contact information is:

                Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County
                Post Office Drawer 1228
                Beaufort, SC  29901-1228
                Fax: (843) 524-0617
                Email: voter@bcgov.net