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Suppose a person is born outside the US to US citizen parent(s) and meets all the requirements to be a US citizen. The person fulfills all the requirements, such as filing US tax returns and registering for selective service. But the person never enters the US, and the person's parents never physically reside in the US while the person is growing up. Neither the person nor the parents are in the US military and do not work for a federal or international agency.

Can the person vote in any US elections? If so, which jurisdiction would they request an absentee ballot from?

This is hypothetical; I'm not an ex-pat, I'm an election official.

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    Not quite a duplicate: How do I register to vote as a non-resident American citizen?. There are also some related questions at Law (for example, search for us vote overseas).
    – phoog
    Jul 31, 2022 at 16:37
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    What does your Secretary of State (or whatever state governmental office supervises elections) say? Jul 31, 2022 at 18:00
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    I would ask if we received an application from a foreign country to be added to the checklist, but at this point it's only hypothetical. Jul 31, 2022 at 18:02
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    The problem is that there are no nation-wide elections in the US; all elections are at the state level (you vote for a slate of state-specific electors in the presidential election). Without having a relationship to a state, I don't know how you could vote.
    – Flydog57
    Aug 1, 2022 at 19:41

2 Answers 2

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Some (but not all) states allow US citizens who've never resided in the US to register to vote in that state if their parent(s) were last domiciled in the US in that state.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act doesn't apply to people who've never resided in the US. The definition of "overseas voter" in 52 USC 20310(5) says:

(5) “overseas voter” means—

(A) an absent uniformed services voter who, by reason of active duty or service is absent from the United States on the date of the election involved;

(B) a person who resides outside the United States and is qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States; or

(C) a person who resides outside the United States and (but for such residence) would be qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States.

This definition only applies to people who were domiciled in the US at one point. Therefore, there is no nationwide requirement that states allow US citizens who've never resided in the US to register to vote.

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Some states allow US citizens who were born abroad and have never lived in the US to register and vote using absentee ballots. See this Federal Voting Assistance Program webpage. The FVAP is part of the Department of Defense, and its jurisdiction includes all US citizens who reside overseas.

The several I looked at allow voting in the state of a parent's last residence, sometimes only for federal office elections.

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