NEWS | Jan. 19, 2012

Vote, let your voice be heard

By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The Republican primaries are well underway and the world's eyes are on the state of South Carolina and its primary scheduled for Jan. 21. While you might not be able to vote in the S.C. primary, you can still register to vote in the National Election in November.

If you or your family members have not submitted a registration or absentee ballot request [Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)] to your home state, you should do so as soon as possible.

Your unit and installation voting assistance officers can remind you of this and assist you in the process.

However, you can also accomplish this yourself, too. Everything you need is on the Federal Voting Assistance Program web portal at http://www.fvap.gov/map.html. Keep in mind, state registration requirements vary greatly. When on the website, click on your home state. Follow the instructions to register and request an absentee ballot.

Don't assume your registration for absentee ballots from previous elections are still valid. Some states remove "inactive" voters from the polls after a certain amount of time. If you can't remember the last time you voted, chances are you'll need to re-register.

Sign up for State-specific election information at http://www.fvap.gov/contact/subscription.html. You have the option of adding or deleting subscription items at any time and have the option to password protect your account.

If you've submitted an absentee ballot request, but do not receive a ballot at least 30 days before the election, go to FVAP.gov's online back-up ballot system to find out your federal candidates, fill out the back-up ballot and get complete submission instructions.

You can access this online back-up ballot system at http://www.fvap.gov/map.html and then select, "Get My Ballot Now".

If you're still having problems, FVAP's call center is available at 1-800-438-8683, or at vote@fvap.gov. Toll-free numbers from 67 countries are listed at: http://www.fvap.gov/contact/tollfreephone.html. You unit or installation voting assistance officers can provide local assistance. You may find your Voting Assistance Officer at 963-6255 or contact email at vote.charleston@us.af.mil

Federal Voting Assistance Program contributed to this article.