By Lea Ann Starmer
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, the U.S. Army has designated Sept. 27 to Oct. 4 Absentee Voters Week. This is a week of increased effort to encourage all assigned personnel and their eligible family members who have received their state absentee ballot, to vote the ballot and return it to their state of legal residence in a timely manner.
Election officials are required to send absentee ballots 45 days prior to an election to those who are registered and have requested a ballot. If a requested absentee ballot has not been received within 30 days of the election, it is recommended to complete a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. If the absentee ballot is received after sending in the FWAB, vote the ballot and return it — it will replace the FWAB.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program website, www.fvap.gov, has electronic forms available along with all state-specific information, instructions and deadlines. Each unit also has a voting assistance officer available to provide help.
Active-duty service members’ state of legal residence will normally match the state they claim for tax purposes on their leave and earnings statement. Eligible family members’ 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 Fort Leonard Wood’s Installation Voting Assistance Office — located in Dillard Hall, Bldg. 470, Room 2226 — at 573.596.0741 for more information.
Voting is a right, privilege and responsibility of U. S. citizens.
(Editor’s note: Starmer is the Installation Voting Assistance Officer.)