Primaries, general elections are fast approaching

| August 6, 2010 | 0 Comments

Aiko Brum
Chief, Internal Communication

Soldiers, civilians and family members who are of eligible voting age cannot afford to sit out on any election year because significant issues demand they choose a candidate who best addresses their concerns.
Issues such as two wars, the economy, health care, the definition of marriage, immigration policy and the potential repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell require a voter’s attention.
However, to participate in state primaries and the Nov. 2 midterm general elections, American citizens must be registered to vote in their legal home of residence. For overseas Americans, uniformed service members and their family members of voting age, in most states, the Federal Post Card Application, or FPCA form, provides them opportunity to both register and request absentee ballots — but registration rules vary.
The website for the Federal Voting Assistance Program — www.fvap.gov — contains all the information you need to determine whether you are eligible to vote, as well as links to applications, ballots, other forms, polling places and candidates for the entire country and its four territories.
Many states are holding special primary elections to fill vacancies, such as West Virginia for the passing of U.S. Senator Robert Byrd.
All states remind voters to add in time for postal mail delivery, if electronic or fax capabilities are not available. As well, state secretaries remind voters that they must meet various dates: for registration, for requesting absentee ballots, for voting.
“You may be absent come Election Day, but you can be accounted for,” Bob Carey, FVAP director, said, at the website. “Go to FVAP.gov, fill out your registration and absentee ballot application online, and send it back … so that your election official has time to process it and send you back your absentee ballot for the November general election.”
Carey told the American Forces Press Service that “new laws require voters to submit federal postcard applications for absentee ballots on a yearly basis.”
AFPS also stated “(Carey’s) staff converted to a Web-based process that’s similar to many tax-filing programs, with an intuitive, easy-to-understand application.”
“You don’t have to know how to go through the 250-page voter’s assistance guide – all will be online,” Carey told AFPS.
Military voters should not only submit a new FPCA every year, but also every time they move, deploy or redeploy overseas. Overseas civilian voters should submit an application before every federal election.
Online tools
The Internet contains a wealth of resources to aid voters.
Among popular Web sites are CanIVote.org offers state by state, in-depth voting information. Still others, like www.democratsabroad.org and www.republicansabroad.com, offer serious reviews of issues, positions and candidates for mobile overseas citizens, service members and their families who are out of touch with their local, state or national news.
Project Vote Smart, at www.vote-smart.org, provides a library of factual information about candidates: where they stand on issues, candidates’ voting records, and the like. As well, Declare Yourself (www.declareyourself.org) and Rock the Vote (www.rockthevote.org) aim to engage younger voters in the political process.
The League of Women Voters (www.lwv.org) is a longstanding, traditional source of election information.
Bottom line
According to the Department of Defense, an estimated 6 million uniformed and overseas citizens are eligible to vote absentee.
“Our goal is to bring the military and overseas citizen absentee voting success rate to that of the general public,” Carey told audiences at a kickoff press conference in January.

On the Web: Visit www.fvap.gov for voting information.

Top five dumbest ways to choose candidates
1) By political parties
2) By newspaper or television picks
3) By special interest groups (unions, collective
    bargaining units, etc.)
4) By candidates’ signs, holders or wavers
5) By looks or familiar last names

Category: News

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