Voting: Absentee ballots can make a difference

Capt. Kimberly Layne
U.S. Air Forces in Europe

***image1******image2***– KMC Voter’s Corner –

Finding ways to make your vote count!

The Air Force Voting Assistance Program in the KMC is up and running. Unit Voting Assistance Officers at all levels and trained voting counselors are contacting military and civilian employees in every KMC Air Force organization.
People can leave a message for me, Maj. Brad Hamant, the Installation Voting Assistance Officer, at 480-VOTE to find out about your representative or to ask a question about the program. Check this spot weekly for voting questions and answers.

Q: What state is my “voting residence?”

A: There’s no federal law governing this, but most military members use their state of legal residence. Dependents and civilian employees usually use the last place they resided in the states. You can guarantee little or no problem getting registered by following these rules. If you choose a different state, allow time to iron out state-by-state residency rules. Regardless of what state you choose, you must have a physical address at which you resided at one time – even if someone else lives there now or the building no longer exists. You must use this physical address, not a P.O. box on your application, even if mail was delivered elsewhere.

In the Nov. 2 general election, the next president, vice president, 34 senators, 435 representatives, 13 governors and hundreds of local officials will be elected, and American voters play a very important role in this process, said Maj. Rickey Harrington, U. S. Air Forces in Europe voting officer.
“The military has a strong voice, and it is imperative that every member is afforded the opportunity to register and vote,” said Major Harrington. “We are making sure that Installation Voting Assistance Officers and Unit Voting Assistance Counselors are making 100 percent contact with every member to ensure they are given the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”
The deadline for completing and mailing a Federal Post Card Application (for registration) is no later than 45 days prior to the election date or 30 days prior (to the election) for the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot.
The registration process is quite easy, said Major Harrington. As long as the necessary paperwork is complete and mailed before the posted deadline, the vote will be counted.
The Military Postal Service Agency is also taking precautions to uphold the integrity of the voting system. Each absentee envelope will be inspected by post office receipt and dispatch personnel for proper date stamping.
“We believe this will diminish the problems we saw in 2000,” said Tech. Sgt. Wes Smith, Ramstein Northside Post Office post master. “Incomplete and inappropriate postmarks, which plagued the last general election, will not be a problem this time.”
People should register and send their ballots as soon as possible to ensure that the registration forms arrive on time.
While UVACs and post office personnel play a major role in the success of the election process, the buck stops with individual voters.
“We want to make sure the tools are in place to help the voters, but ultimately it is their responsibility to start the process,” said Major Harrington.
For more information about overseas voter registrations, click on the Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site at