FVAP helps service members exercise their right to vote

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Timothy Moore
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Ramstein Voting Assistance Office hosted Armed Forces Voter Week here from June 30 to July 7, 2014 on Ramstein.

The event was part of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, which is designed to ensure Department of Defense members, their eligible family and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to do so from anywhere in the world.

Armed Forces Voter Week was tailored to remind Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines to register to vote and be a part of the election process.

However, DOD members can always get information from their unit or installation voting assistance officers or from www.FVAP.gov.

Armed Forces Voter Week allowed members of the VAO to pass out voting information at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 30 to July 3.

"It is one of two special-emphasis weeks to encourage installation voting officers and unit voting officers to get out there and make a big push to get people to register to vote," said Capt. Ross Smiedendorf, installation voting officer for the KMC.

The goal of this week was to get people to register for their absentee ballots in order to get them before October. The second special-emphasis week, which takes place Sept. 29 to Oct. 6, has the goal of turning ballots in on time.

"Being overseas presents a different challenge to get an absentee ballot," Smiedendorf said. "You can't just walk to your local polling station at your local school or church and vote like a lot of people are accustomed to doing."

With thousands of local, state and federal positions up for election, the VAO plans to ensure that service members and their families have access to information and tools they need to vote.

"This year is big, because there are midterm elections for a lot of state senators and representatives," Smiedendorf said.

For more information, contact your unit voting assistance officer or the installation Voting Assistance Office by emailing kmcvote@us.af.mil.

Smiedendorf said he highly recommends accessing www.FVAP.gov to obtain useful information before voting.

"That's where I and the unit representatives will get all of our information," Smiedendorf said. "That's where we are going to direct a lot of people, because it's a really great website and is easy to use. It'll tell you everything you need to know about voting in your state, including special elections and certain deadlines."