The United States will hold a general election Nov. 3 to decide the offices of president and vice president, 33 seats in the U.S. Senate, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, governors in 11 states and two territories, state and local offices and numerous ballot questions and referenda.
In an effort to encourage participation in the election by members of the uniformed services, June 28 to July 5 has been designated Armed Forces Voters Week. This is a week of increased effort to contact all assigned personnel and their eligible family members to encourage voting awareness and to make voting assistance available.
The majority of service members and their families are stationed outside of their state of legal residence, which requires voting by absentee ballot in order to participate in elections. For active-duty service members, their state of legal residence will normally match the state they are claiming for tax purposes on their leave and earnings statement. For eligible family members, their state of legal residence may differ from their sponsor.
It is recommended that absentee voters register each calendar year with their state of legal residence, and whenever there is a change of address. The Federal Post Card Application can be used to register to vote while simultaneously requesting an absentee ballot. It can also be used to submit a change of address to local election officials.
Contact a unit voting assistance officer or go online to the Federal Voting Assistance Program website to fill out an FPCA. The website, www.fvap.gov, also provides service members state-specific information, requirements and deadlines.
Election officials are required to send absentee ballots 45 days prior to an election to those who are registered and have requested a ballot. Once an absentee ballot is received it is important to vote the ballot and return it promptly to the state of legal residence. This will ensure the voted ballot arrives prior to that state’s cutoff date. Do research on candidates and issues beforehand in order to make completing and returning the ballot faster and easier.
Fort Leonard Wood’s Installation Voting Assistance Office is available to offer voting assistance and information. The office is located in Dillard Hall, Bldg. 470, Room 2226. Call 573.596.0741 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Voting is a right, privilege and responsibility of U. S. citizens.
(Editor’s note: The article was provided by the Installation Voting Assistance Office.)