By JD LeipoldJune 29, 2012
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 29, 2012) -- With just 130 days remaining until the national elections, overseas Soldiers, civilians, contractors and family members need to let their home states know of any change in address so they can receive their absentee ballots in time.
Nearly 151,000 Soldiers serve abroad and the secretary of Defense designated June 28 - July 7 as Armed Forces Voters Week to get the word out to them that time is running short for overseas voters to submit a Federal Postcard Application, or FPA, with updated address information.
During this week, voting assistance officers and stands will be set up at high traffic areas at overseas installation exchanges, commissaries, theaters and community service centers to provide information and assistance.
"You can go on line or fill out the hard copy application and then all they do is send that to their local voting official," said Lt. Col. Paul Amrhein, chief, Soldier Programs Branch. "The most important part that we try to emphasize to Soldiers is even if you've changed your address, you still have to send in another FPA with the update.
"Once you're registered to vote, you stay registered unless your information changes, so for military and family members, they should double-check to ensure they're registered if they've moved since the previous election," Amrhein added.
In September, a new initiative kicks off which will allow U.S. citizens overseas to place express mailing labels on their ballots that can be tracked from the military post office to the local voting official in the U.S., said Amrhein.
"Voting assistance officers and unit leaders are putting emphasis on trying to instill in their Soldiers and civilians the importance of taking part in these elections and how voting is a right and part of their civic duty," he said. "I just want to emphasize the importance of updating the address and letting the local voting election official know that address to ensure their ballot counts on election day."