Overseas Citizen Voter

In 2008 the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) was passed and former Secretary of State Chris Nelson developed the first system specifically designed for uniformed and overseas voters.  This UOCAVA system was named after the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act, which  turned a 60 day process into a 24 hour transaction.  The UOCAVA system allows all military and overseas voters to submit their absentee ballot application electronically (fax or e-mail). For Federal elections a UOCAVA voter may receive their absentee ballot electronically.

The UOCAVA system was used for the first time in the 2010 general election and continued to be used in the 2012 and 2014 elections.  Secretary of State Shantel Krebs will continue using UOCAVA as there were 518 uniformed and overseas citizen voters who used this system to vote absentee in the 2014 election.  UOCAVA was developed at a cost of less than $100,000 and funded from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant. 

If you are an overseas citizen voter and want to register to vote, please register to vote and send your application to your County Election Official.

Absentee Ballot Applications

If you are an overseas citizen voter, and unable to attend your polling place in person on Election Day, you may vote by absentee ballot. Absentee voters may obtain an absentee ballot several ways:

If you have questions regarding registering or voting in South Dakota as an overseas citizen or if you would like the state to mail you a paper voter registration or absentee ballot application, contact the Secretary of State's Office at (605) 773-3537 or

Absentee Ballots

An overseas citizen voter may receive an absentee ballot electronically. If you want to receive your ballot in this manner, mark the e-mail preference in block 5 on your Federal Post Card Application Form (Federal Form Number 76A) or personally contact your County Election Official by e-mail or phone. You will be notified by e-mail when your ballot is available to download. If you do not choose to receive an absentee ballot electronically, your ballot will be mailed to you.

Overseas citizens voting by absentee ballot must have their ballots received at their polling location prior to the polls closing. If an absentee ballot is delivered to a polling place after the polls are closed, the absentee ballot will not be counted nor opened.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots

Overseas citizen voters who are outside the United States on Election Day may vote by using a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB). To vote using a FWAB you must have already requested an absentee ballot from your County Election Official by using the South Dakota Absentee Ballot Application Form, or a Federal Post Card Application (Federal Form Number 76A).

A FWAB returned to the County Election Official will be handled and counted the same way as an absentee ballot cast on an official absentee ballot.

Home on Election Day?

If you are home on Election Day and have not voted by absentee ballot, you may, if registered, appear at your election district polling place and vote.

Federal Voting Assistance Program

If you will be out of the country and wish to vote, the Federal Voting Assistance Program will guide you through the process at