Story by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pedro A. Rodriguez, NDW Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) – The primaries for the 2016 presidential election are upon us, the Naval District Washington’s (NDW) voting assistance office (VOA) wants every Sailor and Marine assigned to the region to have the information necessary to vote during this voting season.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) works to ensure Service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so, from anywhere in the world.
“The very first responsibility of POTUS as listed in Art II Sec II of the Constitution is, ‘The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States.’ In addition, of 18 specific powers granted to Congress, seven of them pertain directly to the military,” said NDW Voting Assistant Officer (VAO) Lt. Anthony Scaletti. “In addition to the powers granted to Congress, seven of them pertain directly to the military. That's not including the abundance of committees and sub-committees that are involved in almost all aspects of how the military operates. The government's actions affect us more than most and service members are in a unique position to choose their leadership. We are some of the best educated and best informed members of society and I think we have an obligation to ourselves and the American people to vote because of that.”
According to the FVAP website the registration process is the same for everyone. Personnel interested in casting an absentee ballot can go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at https://www.fvap.gov/military-voter/services/navy download the application and follow the instructions provided.
For in-person help, personnel should visit their nearest Unit Voting Assistance Officer. Through them, members will be able to get hard copies of forms, get assistance in completing the forms or get answers to any of your absentee voting questions.
“VAOs can provide essentially anything related to voting whether it is hard copies of forms, assistance in completing the forms or answers to any of your absentee voting questions,” said Scalleti.
FVAP assists voters through partnerships with the Military Services, Department of State, Department of Justice and election officials from 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
“The voting assistance program makes it incredibly easy to vote in any election. I think the only issue is many people just don't know the options available or realize how easy it actually is,” said Scalleti. “Service members can do by mail everything that a resident of their state can do in person. Most states even allow a grace period after an election to allow remaining absentee ballots to arrive. There's no excuse to not vote when you can register and vote on the same piece of paper and mail it on election day.”
NDW Sailors can contact the VAO via email or call 202-685-0052. There is a VAO represented on all seven installations in the region and they can provide the same information, forms and assistance.
For more news and information from around the region, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw, www.facebook.com/NavDistWash or follow @NavDistWash on Twitter.