The 2020 federal election cycle campaigns are underway. The general election is Nov. 3 — the first state presidential primary is a little more than a month away.
According to Lea Ann Starmer, Fort Leonard Wood’s installation voting assistance officer, January is a good time for service members to make sure they are registered to vote in their state of legal residence.
“Most states require absentee voters to register each calendar year,” she said. “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, their legal voting residence is the state listed on their Leave and Earnings Statement, and the Federal Post Card Application is the key to applying to register to vote while simultaneously requesting an absentee ballot for the calendar year.
“It also ensures your local election official knows how to reach you,” Starmer added.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program — www.fvap.gov — allows service members to apply online.
“This will allow you to register, request your absentee ballot, and make address changes if need be while providing you with all of your state-specific information and requirements,” Starmer said.
Starmer added that once an absentee ballot is received it is important to vote the ballot and return it quickly to a local election officer. This ensures the ballot arrives before the cutoff date set by the service member’s state of residence.
“Do research on the candidates and issues beforehand in order to make completing and returning your absentee ballot quicker and easier,” Starmer said.
Missouri’s presidential primary is March 10, and the last day to register to vote in that primary is Feb. 12.
“One of the biggest myths is that absentee ballots will not be counted,” Starmer said. “In fact, absentee ballots submitted in accordance with state laws are counted for every election … and every vote — absentee or in-person — counts the same. We encourage everyone to participate in the electoral process and exercise your right to vote.”
The Installation Voting Assistance Office is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and can provide information and assistance to anyone eligible to vote on Fort Leonard Wood. For more information, call 573.596.0741, email email@example.com or stop by Dillard Hall, Building 470, Room 2226.
(Editor’s note: Information for this article was submitted by the Installation Voting Assistance Office.)