SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 2008 presidential campaign has entered the home stretch as Election Day quickly approaches. Soldiers and family members eligible to vote are being encouraged by the Army to take part in this political process.

Oct. 11-15 has been designated Absentee Voting Week by the Federal Voting Assistance Program to ensure all Soldiers and family members participate in the upcoming presidential election, Nov. 4, regardless of their current location.

Absentee Voting Week marks the last "safe" week to send in absentee ballots in order for them to arrive on time.

Absentee Voting Week marks the end of a push, which started in early summer, to invite all Soldiers and Department of Defense (DoD) personnel, locally and overseas, to register to vote and participate in the election process.

Information about voter registration deadlines and absentee ballot applications is provided through voting assistance officers at each unit. Several initiatives to promote voter awareness, including posters and fliers, have blanketed the installation the past few months.

Voting assistance activities and nonpartisan voter registration drives have been taking place. Additionally, absentee voter information can be found through Army Knowledge Online (AKO) and numerous other Web sites.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program,, is a simple 10-minute process that ensures success when casting an absentee ballot.

To use the free service, go to the FVAP Web site and follow the simple instructions and prompts to receive a ballot. The self-guided site uses simple prompts to guide both service members and civilians through the process to become a registered voter and cast an absentee ballot for the upcoming election.

Each state's requirements vary. For example, in Hawaii, absentee voters should have registered by Oct. 6, and must request a ballot by Oct. 28.

Voters can check state-by-state instructions to determine submission deadlines and rules for state absentee ballots.

Additionally, the Federal Voting Assistance Program recently updated its Web site to provide online voter registration specifically for service members and their families.

"We've come a long way from the time only men with land could vote," said Kyle Ford, voting assistance officer, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs. "It is your responsibility to honor the men and women who fought for your right to be heard by voting."

Voting is one of the most important actions Americans can make. Elected officials make decisions that affect the daily lives of all Soldiers, family members and DoD personnel.

From homeland security to social security, the individuals voted into office will make decisions affecting the quality of life for the military ohana. A vote is a voice, and it can make a difference.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-438-VOTE.