Election Day creeping up, citizens overseas urged to vote
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- With the 2012 national election less than 60 days away, service members and U.S. citizens stationed overseas are encouraged to request their absentee ballots.
National Election Day is Nov. 6, and since many service members and their families are stationed or deployed overseas, they are required to submit an absentee ballot to their local county in order to vote for the election.
“An absentee ballot is classified by a ballot that your local county will send you with a list of nominees for election,” said Maj. Carissa Grant, 18th Wing installation voting assistance officer.
There are two types of ballots, Grant said. The first type is the absentee ballot local counties send U.S. citizens stationed overseas or deployed, such as active-duty personnel, dependents and civilian employees. The second type is a write-in ballot.
Due to the delay in the postal system, or counties sending ballots out late, some citizens may not receive their official absentee ballot, Grant said. In turn, service members and civilian employees are encouraged to send in a write-in ballot from the Federal Voters Assistance Program (FVAP) website, available at www.fvap.gov.
“We encourage folks that think their ballot will be late, or if they know they have not received (their ballot), to fill (the write-in ballot) out,” Grant said.
She said the first way a citizen can get the write-in ballot, and the easiest way, is by going to the FVAP website. The other way is by contacting a unit voting assistance officer.
One of the challenges faced with voting overseas is ensuring service members send their application back in a timely manner, as well as returning the voting ballot once received.
For more information about voting, or to obtain an absentee or write-in ballot, visit the FVAP website or contact a representative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since we are under 60 days to the federal election, they are encouraging citizens to request and send their ballots now, the voting officer explained.
To help expedite the process, the post office is now providing free express mail of all absentee ballots whether it’s one from the county or the write-in ballot.
Grant encourages all U.S. citizens stationed overseas or deployed, whether they are active-duty members, dependent spouses, or civilian employees, to express their right to vote.