By Lt. Cmdr. Jason Ayeroff, Regional Voting Assistance Officer
In order to vote in a federal primary or special election in March, April or May 2014, service members can visit www.FVAP.gov for information on registering to vote and requesting an absentee ballot according to state deadlines and requirements.
States must provide requested ballots 45 days before an election. If the requested state ballot is not received at least 30 days before an election, prepare, print and sign the backup Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) at www.FVAP.gov.
All uniformed service members residing outside of their voting jurisdiction, their eligible family members and citizens residing outside the U.S. who are residents of these states and would like to participate in these elections should submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which acts as a request for voter registration and a request for an absentee ballot. FVAP recommends using the online assistant to prepare, print and sign an FPCA at FVAP.gov.
Service members should include an email address, phone number and/or fax number on the FPCA in the event a local election official must contact them. Many states allow submission of the FPCA electronically and are required to deliver the blank ballot electronically by email or fax or provide online ballot access. Go to FVAP.gov or your state’s election website to see how you can return your forms.
The FWAB is a backup ballot. If the requested state ballot has not been received 30 days before the election or you think you will not receive your state ballot in time to return your ballot, prepare and print the FWAB at FVAP.gov. Sign and submit the FWAB to the local election official. The FWAB is also available in embassies, consulates and military installations around the world.
The state’s election website can be checked for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information and links to local election offices.
For more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or help with the absentee voting process, call FVAP at 1-800-438-8683 or DSN 425-1584 and visit www.FVAP.gov for the complete 2014 primary election calendar. Unit or installation voting assistance officers can also provide information or assistance.
Visit the Facebook page DoDFVAP or Twitter @FVAP.