The DoD’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) kicked off its training program geared to help voting assistance officers at military bases worldwide at a 2010 Election Year press conference Jan. 7.
Thousands of voting assistance officers will help an estimated 6 million uniformed and overseas citizens vote absentee. DoD and DoS directives require a voting assistance officer at the unit level and at every embassy and consulate to facilitate this effort.
“Our goal is to bring the military and overseas citizen absentee voting success rate to that of the general public,” said Bob Carey, Federal Voting Assistance Program director. “We cannot do this if we do not address each part of the process. Registration and ballot request, by using the federal post card application, is critical to our citizens.”
During the kickoff press conference Carey focused on:
• voting assistance officers (VAO) providing a federal post card application to all military personnel by Jan. 15.
• using the FVAP Web site http://www.fvap.gov and the “Voting Assistance Guide” for help in completing the registration and ballot request process.
• timely completion of registration and ballot request.
• VAOs, who are required to attend a workshop, should visit http://www.FVAP.gov for the workshop schedule by installation.
Because the law has changed dramatically since last year, voters need to be aware that:
• voters will no longer automatically receive ballots from absentee ballot applications submitted in previous years.
• military voters should submit a new federal post card application at least each and every year, and every time they move, deploy, or redeploy overseas. Overseas civilian voters should submit an application before every federal election.
• military and overseas voters should only use the Federal Post Card Application (available from voting assistance officers and at http://www.FVAP.gov) and not state registration and absentee ballot application forms; the FPCA provides specific federal rights and guarantees that the state forms do not.
• voters should use the http://www.FVAP.gov Web site and check the “Voting Assistance Guide” to make sure they get it right.
• voters should watch the FVAP Web site closely to learn about the launch of new online tools that will assist uniformed service members and overseas civilians vote absentee.
Carey also discussed the importance of meeting the FPCA deadlines and accounting for mail delays throughout the voting process.