FORT JACKSON, SC -- The Fort Jackson Voting Assistance Office is launching a massive voter registration drive today to help Army civilians, service members and their voting-age dependents register to do just that.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., voting assistance officers will be at the Solomon Center manning a voter registration booth decorated with banners displaying the Federal Voting Assistance Program's campaign slogan: "Honor the Past, Support the Future - Vote."

The VAOs will explain the procedures required to register in each state, how to obtain an absentee ballot from the citizen's voting residence, and how to use the Voting Assistance Guide for state-by-state instructions.

"Any questions they may have on the voting process, we will be able to help answer those questions," said Donald Johnson, installation senior voting assistance officer.

The VAOs will help patrons fill out federal post card applications, SF-76, which allow citizens temporarily living outside of their state of record to register to vote in their home state, vote by absentee ballot, and in some states, vote early by mail.

Once the applications are completed according to a state or territory's specific instructions and are submitted to the appropriate local election office, the newly registered voters will receive absentee ballots for primary, as well as general elections.

Many states, including South Carolina, have already had their primaries, but more than 20 states will be conducting primaries from July through October.
VAOs will also assist patrons who need help filling out the Voter's Declaration/Affirmation - Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, SF-186, which can be used as a back-up if that the state absentee ballot does not arrive with enough time to vote and return it. The write-in absentee ballot requires the voter to write-in the candidates they choose for each office. And even if someone has missed the primary in his or her state, said Johnson, it's important to remember he or she can still vote in the general election, which takes place Nov. 2 in each state.

"It's important because it's your chance to make a difference; your voice needs to be heard," he said.

For those who cannot attend today's drive, individual units will be conducting their own voter registration drives next week in support of Armed Forces Voters Week, which begins Monday and runs until July 7. Each unit will have voting assistance officers on hand to assist in all aspects of the voting process, Johnson said.

For more information, contact the post Voting Assistance Office at 751-5763, a unit VAO, or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at www.fvap.gov.

Page last updated Thu June 24th, 2010 at 08:35