Absentee Voting Week: let your voice be heard

  • Published
  • By Maj. Julie Meek
  • 96th Test Wing Installation Voting Assistance Officer
Absentee Voting Week, Sept. 29 - Oct. 3, is designated by the Secretary of Defense for active-duty members and their voting-age dependents to register to vote.

Personnel will be on hand at the base exchange during operating hours to assist patrons in registering to vote, or with voting with an absentee ballot.  There will also be a Absentee Voting Week 5k run Oct. 1 at 7 a.m. at CE pavilion.  

Voting is a civil right that the men and women in the Armed Forces defend every day.  By exercising your right to vote, you are letting your voice be heard.  You are telling your civic leaders that you care what decisions are being made by them.  As George Jean Nathan (1882-1958) said, "Bad politicians are elected by good citizens who do not vote."  For such an important civil right myths about voting abound.  Here are the facts to dispel some of the myths.

Myth:  Because it is a non-presidential election year it isn't important to vote.

Fact:  During the 2014 election cycle, 33 senate seats, 435 House of Representatives seats, 36 Governorships, state and local offices as well as various ballot questions and referendums will be decided.  With all these races it is just as important to vote now as it is during presidential elections that you make your voice heard. 

Myth: Your vote doesn't matter or it will not have an impact.

Fact: You should know many elections have been very close.  A few examples are in 2006 the Oklahoma State House of Representatives was won by only two votes.  In the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush narrowly won the state of Florida, where each ballot was scrutinized; each one, whether cast in person or by absentee ballot, was just as important as the next in deciding the outcome. 

Myth:  States all have the same election rules and deadlines for military and overseas voters.

Fact: States have different rules in regard to how and when military absentee ballot forms are returned.  Visit www.FVAP.gov for your state's guidelines.

Myth: Military spouses and dependents cannot use military absentee voting forms.  

Fact:  Military family members who will be 18 years of age or older by Election Day should use the military absentee forms: the Federal Post Card Application and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. 

Myth: I cannot vote if I'm deployed.

Fact: If you are registered to vote and deployed, you can vote via absent ballot.  If you do not receive your State ballot in time, you may use a FWAB found at www.FVAP.gov.  Remember, to have your vote counted submit the form at least 30 days prior to the scheduled election.

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it's an inalienable right.  Many folks fought and died defending our right to vote.  Do not take such a valued right for granted.  As President Dwight D. Eisenhower said in 1949 and stands true today, "The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter."  So do not let anything stop you from letting your voice be heard.

For more information about military absentee voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at www.FVAP.gov or stop by the office of your Unit Voting Assistance Officer.