Primaries, general elections are fast approaching

| March 9, 2012 | 0 Comments
FVAP.gov

FVAP.gov

Service and family members must register, send ballots before deadlines to participate

Vanessa Lynch
News Editor

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — The direction of the economy, scheduled Department of Defense budget cuts, taxes and a drawdown of U.S. forces all combine to serve as potential hot-button issues for the upcoming general election.

For many Soldiers and family members, Nov. 6 will be their opportunity to help choose a commander in chief.

However, to participate in state primaries and the November general election, 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.

“This November, you and your family members will have the opportunity to exercise your right to vote in upcoming elections, and I encourage you to do your part and make your voice heard on issues that are important to you,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler in a recent public service announcement. “Wherever you are, it’s not too late to vote. You can make a difference. If you have questions, see your voting assistance officer. It’s a freedom you defend. Vote.”

Voting is a constitutional right that American citizens 18 years and older can freely exercise. Soldiers, civilians and family members who are of eligible voting age and neglect to vote relinquish the right to speak to significant issues by choosing a candidate who best addresses their concerns.

The website for the Federal Voting Assistance Program, www.fvap.gov, contains all the information needed to determine whether you’re eligible to vote, as well as links to applications, ballots, other forms, polling places and candidates for the entire country and its four territories.

All states remind voters to add in time for postal mail delivery, if electronic or fax capabilities aren’t available. Also, state secretaries remind voters that they must meet various dates: for registration, for requesting absentee ballots, for voting.

Online tools

The Internet contains a wealth of resources to aid voters in picking a candidate, as well explanations about the process. Among popular web sites are CanIVote.org, which offers state-by-state, in-depth voting information.

Still others, like www.democratsabroad.org and www.republicansabroad.com, offer reviews of issues, positions and candidates for mobile overseas citizens and service members and their families who are out of touch with their local, state or national news.

Project Vote Smart (www.vote-smart.org) provides a library of factual information about candidates: where they stand on issues, candidates’ voting records and background information.

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.

(Editor’s note: Some information pulled from news releases.)

2012 Election Dates

2012 Election Dates

Rules and deadlines for absentee voters will vary from state to state

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, or UOCAVA, covers all active duty members of the uniformed services and their families and U.S. citizens who reside overseas. UOCAVA assists them in exercising their right to vote.

The 55 states and territories manage elections individually. This fact means that there are 55 sets of rules for absentee voting by UOCAVA citizens, but the basic steps are simple:

•Citizens register to vote and request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application, or FPCA, and then mail the ballot to their local election official in the state in which they are eligible to vote.

•The election official approves/disapproves the FPCA or requests additional information.

•If the FPCA is approved, the election official sends an absentee ballot to the citizen.

•The citizen votes and returns the ballot to their election official by their state’s deadline.

To successfully vote absentee, UOCAVA citizens should be mindful of the following:

•Allow plenty of time to request, receive and return a ballot.

•Notify your local election official each time your mailing address changes.

•Become familiar with your state’s absentee voting laws, procedures and deadlines to make sure your ballot is properly executed and will be counted.

Learn more about UOCAVA at www.fvap.gov and choose the “Get Started” button under the category of UOCAVA citizen that describes you.

Visit www.fvap.gov/resources/media/2012_ballot_mailing_days.pdf for mailing days.

Voting assistance officers

Each subordinate command in U.S. Army-Hawaii has a voting assistance officer to answer questions during the election season:

U.S. Army-Pacific Voting Assistance Action Hotline: 438-8678

Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, USARPAC: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ruth Zorgdrager, 438-3624

25th Infantry Division: Maj. Angelica Riveradiaz, 655-1803

8th Theater Sustainment Command: Maj. Jose Torres, 438-5665

311th Theater Signal Command: Maj. Dwayne Hamasaki, 438-2401

94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command: Maj. Lisa Walsh, 438-2988

18th Medical Command: Lt. Col. Shauna Snyder, 438-5987

Tripler Army Medical Center and Pacific Regional Medical Command: Capt. Marie Cabel, 433-6633

Installation Management Command-Pacific: Robert Perkins, 438-3219

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii: Charlene Shelton, 655-8945

196th Infantry Brigade: Lt. Col. William Crawford, 438-0182

500th Military Intelligence Brigade: Sgt. 1st Class Monica Adams, 655-4784, ext. 1

599th Transportation Brigade: Sgt. 1st Class Joanene Lassiter, 656-7620

Upcoming Primaries

Voters from the states listed should visit the FVAP.gov web portal to register and request their absentee ballot for the primary elections listed herein.

•March 20

IL

•March 24

LA

•April 3

DC, MD, TX, WI,

•April 24

AL, CT, DE, NY, PA, RI

•May 8

IN, NC, WV,

•May 15

ID, NE, OR, AR, KY, TX

•May 22

AR, KY

•May 29

TX

•June 5

CA, IA,MT, NJ, NM, SD

•June 12

AR, ME, NV, ND, SC, VA

•June 26

CO, NY, OK, SC, SD, UT

 

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