The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)–which is only one page and can be filled out online here–can be used by overseas voter both to register to vote initially and to request ballots for all elections (primary, general, and special) in a calendar year. Under Federal law–even if you’re already registered to vote–states are only required to send your ballots if you have submitted an FPCA during that calendar year. Some states send ballots without an annual FPCA, but others are very strict–and conditions can change unexpectedly. You don’t want to find out too late that you’ve missed your chance to vote!
Submit your FPCA every year and you won’t miss an election! Although federal elections are scheduled every two years–in even-numbered years–some regular state elections are scheduled in off-years, and special elections to fill vacancies in both federal and state offices can also occur at any time. An FPCA–submitted in the same calendar year before any federal election–also protects your ballot in case of challenge during a recount.