NEWS | Feb. 5, 2016

Request absentee ballot before it's too late

By Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

With primary elections currently underway for potential presidential candidates and the 2016 general election in November, Joint Base Charleston is encouraging eligible members to register to vote through the use of their unit voting assistance officers.

Voting assistance officers, appointed by their commanders, who assist service members, retirees and their family members with voter information and how to fill out an absentee ballot request form. 

"Our job as a voting assistance representative is to remind people about their rights to vote and provide them the avenues to request an absentee ballot," said Robert Beyler, the installation voting assistance officer. "Our goal is to get as many people as possible registered to vote."

To find a unit's voting assistance officer it's as easy as making a call to the unit's command section, according to Beyler.

"Look for posters around your unit identifying who your voting assistance officer is," he added. "Voting assistance officers have the federal absentee ballot request forms and they can help you fill them out."

According to the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act protects the rights of service members and their families to vote during elections through absentee ballots.

"The Federal Voting Assistance Program website is a great tool for information about upcoming elections," Beyler said. "Some states even allow you to vote online and you can check the FVAP website out to find out which states offer online voting."

As the presidential election nears, the base will be manning a voting office and will host two voting registration drives scheduled for June 27th through July 5th and Sept. 26th through Oct. 3rd.

Although some state deadlines for primaries have expired, Beyler suggests eligible voters visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at for additional information on upcoming elections, registering to vote and checking the deadlines for registration.