Overseas Voter Registration Progresses
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 23, 2004 With only 102 days before the November general elections, DoD is working hard to make sure that service members and their families stationed overseas have the opportunity to vote.
"We are taking aggressive steps in the area of voting." DoD spokesperson Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, said. "The secretary of defense has directed command support and personal involvement at all levels for effective implementation of the voting program throughout the services."
July 4-10 was Overseas Citizens Voters Week, a push to get eligible DoD personnel stationed abroad registered to vote. As of July 9, a total of 340,000 Federal Post Card Applications for registration to vote had been sent to requesters. That's 90,000 more than for election year 2000.
These cards are essential if you are a Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act citizen who intends to vote in the general elections. It serves as both a registration and absentee request form and is accepted by all states and territories.
Since states' requirements vary, check the state-by-state instructions on the Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site to determine the deadline for submission of a registration card and absentee ballot request. The same is true for submitting a ballot; those deadlines differ by state too.
Several programs have been implemented to ensure that as many service members and their families who want to vote are able to, Krenke said.
Those programs include printing information about voting on every service member's pay stub each month and mandating that voting assistance officers contact with each service member one on one to ensure he or she gets an application ballot. DoD is also providing absentee ballot request forms to units preparing for deployment.
Each service also has its own methods of further emphasizing the importance of voting. For example, the Army adjutant general sent a mass e-mail to soldiers with instructions on how to register to vote.
Personnel should also take advantage of the FVAP Web site or call the Voting Information Center at DSN 425-1343 or toll free 1-800-8683 for assistance.