Absentee Voting Week Kicks Off Oct. 11
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2004 Oct. 11-15 has been designated Absentee Voting Week by the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
Overseas voters should vote and return their state absentee ballots or the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot during this week, according to federal voting officials.
FVAP officials note it's imperative to mark and mail ballots as soon as they are received. If a state absentee ballot has been requested but doesn't arrive by voting week, a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot should be submitted. In the event the state ballot shows up after the FWAB is sent, it should be marked and returned as well.
Votes will not be counted twice, but in the event the state ballot makes it to the state by the deadline, it will generally be counted instead of the FWAB because it includes non-federal offices, according to information on the FVAP Web site.
Absentee Voting Week is not the first push made to get overseas voters to participate. In early July, Overseas Citizens Voters Week began the push to simply get DoD personnel overseas to register to vote. Armed Forces Voters Week followed in early September. Again, it was a push to encourage those who had not registered and requested an absentee ballot to do so.
Many changes have been made since the absentee-voting system was criticized in 2000. In that election, numerous ballots were disqualified for lack of postmark or other reasons. One of the biggest changes made has been the effort to make registering and voting as easy as possible for those voting under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act.
Since states' requirements vary, voters should consult the FVAP Web site and check state-by-state instructions to determine submission deadlines and rules for state absentee ballots.