Get ready to vote in 2018
Thursday, 11 January 2018
Special to GUIDON

January is the time to make sure you are ready to vote in the upcoming 2018 elections in your state of legal residence. State primaries will begin in March.

Most states require absentee voters to register each year; so even if you have voted absentee in the past you will need to request to vote absentee again this year. For most service members, your legal voting residence should be within the state listed on your Leave and Earnings Statement.

For active duty members of the Uniformed Services and their eligible family members, the Federal Post Card Application is the key to applying to register to vote while simultaneously requesting absentee ballots for the calendar year. It also ensures your local election official knows how to reach you.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program makes it easy. You can go online at www.fvap.gov, select your state of legal residence and use the FVAP Online Assistant to complete your Federal Post Card Application. This will let you register to vote, request your absentee ballot and/or change your address while providing you with all of your state-specific information  and requirements.

Once an absentee ballot is received, it is important to vote the ballot and return it quickly to your local election officer. This will ensure the ballot arrives before the cutoff date set by the state. Do research on the candidates and issues beforehand in order to make completing and returning your absentee ballot quicker and easier.

One of the biggest myths believed by some service members is that their absentee ballot will not be counted, or will only count in a close election. In fact, absentee ballots submitted in accordance with state laws are counted for every election. All ballots are counted in the final totals for every election, and every vote (absentee or in-person) counts the same.

For Missouri residents, you are  encouraged to get registered and vote in-person for all elections. The Missouri state primary will be held on Aug. 7.

The Installation Voting Assistance Office is available to provide information and assistance to all who are eligible to vote (U.S. citizen, 18 years old) on Fort Leonard Wood. The office is located in Dillard Hall, Building 470, Room 2226. The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 573.596.0741 and the e-mail address is This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it We encourage everyone to participate in the electoral process and exercise your right to vote.

(Editor’s note: Information provided by Fort Leonard Wood’s Installation Voting Assistance office.)