By Lisa Daniel
Sept. 12, 2012
With Election Day just seven weeks away, federal voting officials want to ensure that service members and their families are prepared for their votes to be counted.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program has made the voting process easier than ever for Americans serving overseas, Pam Mitchell, the program’s acting director, says. The website includes a tab for each state’s deadlines for registering to vote and casting absentee ballots. It also has online registration and absentee ballot assistance, and includes a mobile app and a widget.
“We firmly believe that voting assistance for our absentee voters is absolutely the best that it’s ever been,” Mitchell said at a Sept. 5 Pentagon news briefing. “There are a lot of tools in our arsenal to help those voters both register, get an absentee ballot and to exercise their right to vote.”
If you prefer to go in person, there are 221 installation voting offices, all of which the program supports. “We’ve spent a lot of time reaching out to every single one,” Mitchell said.
The Military Postal Service Agency provides free, expedited ballot delivery and ballot tracking to your local election office for overseas-based service members and their families. Go to your local post office or postal clerk, use the Label 11 DOD form on your absentee ballot envelope and mail it. Go to www.usps.com to track the status of your ballot, according to the program’s website.
If you haven’t received your ballot by Oct. 6, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, available on the website, as back-up. For each office for which you vote, write in either a candidate’s name or their party designation, the website says.
For additional help with the absentee voting process, contact FVAP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-438-8683, DSN 425-1584 (CONUS)/312-425-1584 (OCONUS). It also is available on Facebook and you can follow on Twitter at @FVAP.
“Our goal is to make sure that anyone who wants to vote has the resources and tolls they need form anywhere in the world to successfully exercise that right,” she said.