The Army Voting Assistance Program

Monday September 27, 2010

What is it?

The U.S. Army Voting Assistance Program informs and educates Soldiers and their eligible dependents on their right to vote. The goal is to encourage our Army community to participate in our nation's voting process and know their vote will be counted no matter where they are stationed. Voting Assistance Officers (VAOs) world-wide, assist in this process to make registration and voting materials available to all eligible Army voters. Yet, it is the responsibility of voters to register, request an absentee ballot and cast their vote.

What has the Army done?

The Army has appointed 6,743 VAOs to provide assistance to Soldiers, eligible family members and DA civilians. In addition, the Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA) has fielded a special ballot return label, which allows voters to track their completed ballot from their overseas location, all the way to their local election official. As part of this program, MPSA and the U.S. Postal Service also provide free express mail service for returning ballots during the period Sept. 1 through Nov. 2, 2010. This provides the fastest service possible, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their vote counted.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

Since the adoption of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, the Army has appointed Installation VAOs to each installation to assist the unit VAOs. This VAO team is available to inform our communities about the voting process and provide voter materials to eligible voters, including CONUS DA civilian personnel, who request voter information and guidance. This includes material on the voting process, requesting absentee ballots and mailing the completed ballots.

Why is this important to the Army?

With the constant demands faced by our Soldiers, families and civilian workforce, the Army is taking these important steps to ensure every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The voting process is a key element in our nation's governmental process. The Army Voting Assistance Program provides our voters the resources necessary to exercise that right.

Resources:

U.S. Army Voting Assistance Program

FAQs

Federal Voting Assistance Program

Related article: Soldiers encouraged to file absentee ballots soon

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SENIOR LEADERS ARE SAYING

"One thing that we need to constantly keep in mind is that the great young men and women -- if you will, the greatest generation we have today -- cannot do what they do in service of the National Guard and Reserve without the support of their employers. The employers that we recognize today are really the linchpin of our success."

- Dennis M. McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, at the Defense Department awards ceremony on Sept 23, commended the civilian employers of the nation’s nearly 1.7 million citizen-servicemembers, for outstanding support to the Guard and Reserve members they employ

Defense Department honors Guard, Reserve employers

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

"Snipers have become more dynamic over the past 10 years. Considering current operations overseas, snipers have never been more prevalent, because of the need for distance shooting in rugged terrain."

- Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Owens, Special Forces Sniper Course instructor in 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, emphasizing the importance of snipers in the current strategic environment

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