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FEDERAL VOTING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Posted 2/18/2009 Printable Fact Sheet

The United States Air Force has established an Air Force Voting site to address questions and provide information to Airmen wishing to participate in the election process. 

FEDERAL VOTING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act covers the voting rights of members of the Uniformed Services (on active duty), members of the Merchant Marine, their eligible family members, and citizens residing outside the United States. The Federal Voting Assistance Program carries out the responsibilities of the Act by informing and educating U.S. citizens worldwide of their right to vote, fostering voting participation, and protecting and enhancing the electoral process at the Federal, State and local levels. The procedures and deadlines to vote absentee vary from state to state.

How do I register to vote, or apply for an absentee ballot? The Federal Post Card Application is accepted by all states and territories as an application for registration and for absentee ballot. The FPCA is postage-paid in the U.S. mail, including the Military Postal System, and State Department Pouch mail. An online version of the FPCA is available at the FVAP Web site. The online form must be completed, printed, signed, dated and mailed to your Local Election Official. The online form must be mailed in an envelope with proper postage, or using our prepaid return envelope. All States and Territories except American Samoa and Guam accept the OFPCA. You may also send a written request for a ballot to your county, city, town or parish clerk.

I would like to vote, but don't know how. Where can I find assistance? Information on applying for absentee registration and a ballot is available in the Voting Assistance Guide. Voting Assistance Officers assigned to units at military installations and at each U.S. embassy or consulate have a copy of the guide to assist you in completing the FPCA. U.S. citizen organizations overseas and many corporate offices of U.S. companies also have copies of the guide available. The guide is also available at the FVAP Web site.

How do I complete the FPCA? Where do I send my FPCA? Chapter 3 of the Guide outlines absentee voting procedures for each state and territory. Complete the FPCA according to the requirements for your state or territory of legal voting residence. In section IV under the heading of "Where to Send It" you will find a list of addresses for county and local election officials.

When is the best time to apply for an absentee ballot? Generally, the FPCA used only to request a ballot should be received by election officials at least 45 days before Election Day to allow ample time to process the request and mail the ballot. FVAP recommends submitting an FPCA in January of each year. Consult Chapter 3 of the Guide for further information on state or territorial registration deadlines.

What is the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot? UOCAVA voters may be able to use a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot available through Voting Assistance Officers at military installations or at U.S. embassies/consulates. Generally, an absent uniformed services member or citizen outside the United States can only use the FWAB under very specific conditions.

Where is my legal voting residence? For voting purposes, your "legal voting residence" can be the state or territory where you last resided prior to entering military service or the state or territory that you have since claimed as your legal residence. Even though you may no longer maintain formal ties to that residence, the address determines your proper district, ward, precinct or parish for voting purposes. To claim a new legal residence you must have simultaneous physical presence and the intent to return to that location as your primary residence. Military and family members may change their legal residence every time they change permanent duty stations or they may retain their legal residence without change. Family members may have a different legal voting residence from the member. A JAG officer or legal counsel should be consulted before legal residence is changed because there are usually other factors that should be considered besides voting.

My family members are not in the military; can they also vote absentee? The law entitles eligible family members of military personnel to vote absentee. Family members are considered to be in the same category of absentee voter as military members and generally should follow the same procedures.

For more information, visit the Air Force Voting site.







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