FORT BRAGG, N.C. — As the United States moves through election season, service members and families across the globe are using the tools available to them to register to vote and cast their ballots.
Among those service members, U.S. Army Sgt. Hubert D. Delany, and a team of volunteers, have been assisting in registering hundreds of Soldiers to vote through a series of voting drives called Boots to Ballots, Oct. 2-14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“Almost all of the Soldiers we’ve met have wanted to take a second to vote,” said Delany, a Stamford, Connecticut native, and the originator of the voting drive. “All they needed was a little direction, and that is why we volunteered to help.”
To help register Soldiers, the volunteers made use of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). The FVAP is a non-partisan government program administered by the Defense Department, to provide information and tools to make voting easier for troops and their families.
Through the FVAP the volunteers aided Soldiers in filling out the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA). A document that allows troops to register to vote in the location of their permanent residence while simultaneously requesting an absentee ballot.
“Our only real issue has been making sure the Soldiers request their ballot by their state’s deadline,” said Delany, a public affairs mass communication specialist with the 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne) (Dissemination). “However, despite any small setbacks everyone volunteering has done a terrific job. Every ounce of success that we have had has been because everyone has worked so hard.”
Getting troops registered required the volunteers to go door to door inside a series of barracks complexes asking each Soldier whether or not they would like to sign up. Upon confirmation the volunteers would help fill out the applications and deliver them to be mailed to their respective states.
Spc. Dakota West, a Forest Lake, Minnesota native, was one of the first Soldiers registered by volunteers to vote, and believes that educating Soldiers on the process will have a lasting impact.
“A lot of these younger Soldiers have never voted before, didn’t know where to vote, and didn’t know who to ask,” said West. “That is what makes this so important. Every Soldier got to learn that they can vote, that there is a way to vote, and that they all have the ability and right to vote.”