GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Voting is your constitutional right, and it’s one of the rights you defend as a member of the U.S. military. You can have a voice in the electing process. If you don’t vote, you don’t have that voice.
Voting season is around the corner. What am I eligible to vote for?
You can vote for a new president in 2016. Additionally, you can vote for state officials and issues based on your state or territory. On November 4, the U.S. Army is kicking off the 2016 voting season. You need to have registered and have your absentee ballot before Jan. 15, 2016 — the date when the electoral process begins in most states. After Jan. 4, most states won’t take in any more votes. Go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at www.fvap.gov, click on Military Voter and then click your state. This page will tell you what the cut-off date is for the voting process registration.
I’m a military brat. I don’t know my legal voting residence. What do I do now?
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, according to FVAP. FVAP says that even though you may no longer maintain formal ties to that residence, the address determines your proper jurisdiction. To claim new legal residence, consult the legal office or your legal advisor. If you are not sure if you registered to vote in your voting state, you can check to see if you are registered to vote by going to the FVAP links page. Scroll down to “State Voter Registration Verification Website.” Here you will choose the State you vote in, and be redirected to that State’s registration verification page. Contact your local election official or FVAP directly if you have any additional questions or concerns.
What steps do I need to take to vote?
First, figure out your legal voting residence. This means it 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. Once you determine your legal voting residence, take the following steps:
Step 1: Register and request your absentee ballot
You must do this in your state of legal residence by completing a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), according to your state or territory’s specific instructions. Then, submit it to your local election office.
Return the completed FPCA to your local election official. Send it to the address of your voting residence. Addresses are available for each state or territory at the FVAP voter registration page. FPCA materials can be sent as free postage paid via First-Class Mail.
Step 2: Your election official processes your FPCA and sends you a blank ballot
Your state or territory’s election official will determine if you meet the jurisdiction’s residency requirements and may decide which ballot to send. You may also be contacted if there are any questions about your application. Your ballot may be sent to you via mail, email or fax depending on your State’s requirements.
Step 3: Vote with your state ballot or use the back-up federal write-in absentee ballot (FWAB)
Vote and return your state ballot as soon as you receive it. If you have registered and requested your
ballot by your state deadline (or at least 30 days before the election, whatever is later), you may use the FWAB anytime before the election. A FWAB is a back-up ballot that can de used if you requested your state ballot but did not receive it in time to vote.