Even though military families are likely be absent from their homes of record come Election Day, your vote still counts!
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) provides voting assistance for service members, their families, and overseas citizens. You can’t escape the craze of the upcoming general election, but you can request your absentee ballot today before time slips away.
FVAP has everything you need to register, request your ballot, and check the status of your absentee vote. In fact, requesting your absentee ballot is so simple, we requested one and it took less than 5 minutes. Seriously, it was way easier than we expected.
We aren’t experts on voter registration, but we did request a ballot and broke it down so our readers can see how simple it is.
If you have questions or are having trouble, check out your local Installation Voter Assistance Office. There are a variety of voting resources available by branch to military families. Don’t put off requesting your absentee ballots, the deadlines vary per state and you don’t want to be too late!
Here’s what you need to know about absentee voting:
Active duty service members and dependents are eligible.
- You must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, and absent from your voting residence.
- If you are an active duty service member or Merchant Marine, and eligible spouse or family member of an active duty service member or Merchant Marine, or a U.S. citizen residing outside of the U.S. you are eligible to utilize the absentee voting process.
Go to www.fvap.org ASAP and select your legal state of residency.
- It doesn’t matter if you’ve moved recently or will have a PCS before the ballot is due.
- You’ll officially vote where you and your spouse legally reside. If you are unsure of where your SLR is, ask your service member what he or she has documented.
- FVAP will pull up the federal election deadlines for your state. Pay close attention to the dates and plan accordingly for mail delivery.
Register to vote/request your ballot.
- Depending on your state, you’ll have to use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and mail it to your local election office.
- It can be filled out electronically via the online assistant.
- FVAP has provided all of the necessary information on your state’s page of the website.
- If you’re on a desktop, click “Use FVAP’s Online Assistant” in the lower left had side of the page.
Use the FVAP online assistant.
- Information needed varies by state however the FVAP online assistant is very easy to use and will prompt you through each question. Remember to use your SLR!
- Select your ballot classification (active duty service member, dependent, etc.)
- Enter your personal information – you’ll most likely need the last four of your social security number or driver license number so have them on hand
- Voting address – your state of legal residency
- Current mailing address – where you want to receive your ballot. You’ll have the option to select a foreign address or forwarding address if needed
- Method for receiving ballot – email, mail, or fax
- Additional information – select which ballots you would like to receive and leave an optional message for the voting official receiving your application
Download, print, sign and mail.
- The online assistant will prompt you to download your application after reviewing it.
- Print it, (and the envelope if applicable).
- You may have the option to return electronically or via fax as well.
- Don’t forget to sign and date where needed!
SOURCE: “Federal Voting Assistance Program.” FVAP.gov, Department of Defense. August 2016