HEIDELBERG, Germany (Army News Service, Jan. 4, 2008) -- The 2008 election year kicked off Jan. 3 with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire's presidential primary takes place Jan. 8. Other states' primaries, many with bumped-up voting dates, follow right behind the Granite State.

And Election Day, Nov. 4, is less than a year away. So there is no time like the present to register to vote, say voting assistance officers.

Throughout the Army, voting assistance officers are helping Soldiers, Family members, Department of Defense civilian employees, retirees and contractors in registering to vote. They can also identity a voter's county of record back home and will assist with filling out the Federal Postcard Application. Plus they can help other U.S. citizens, who are not associated with the military register as well.

While their processes vary, all 50 states and U.S. territories recognize and accept the federal postcard application - U.S. Government Printing Office Standard Form 76. The form can be obtained from a VAO or downloaded from the Federal Voting Assistance Porgram Web site.

After completing an FPCA, voters need to forward it to their county election officers because the FPCA registers the individual and requests an absentee ballot.

Voters still should check with their state's secretary of state or director of elections for state-specific laws and guidance.

Every state is different when it comes to registration procedures and deadlines for getting the federal post card registration to a county registrar. Links to state registrars can be found on the FVAP's Web site.

To ensure Soldiers find the right person to assist them, lists of trained garrison VAOs are continuously updated and maintained by garrison directorates of human resources.

For more information, contact your unit or USAG VAO or visit the FVAP Web site at www.fvap.gov.

(Dave Melancon writes for U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg Public Affairs.)