Commentary

February 5, 2016
 

The 2016 election year is here

Kenji Thuloweit
Editor

Donald Trump vs. Ted Cruz! Marco Rubio vs. Jeb Bush! Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders and, you know, that other guy!
Forget the Super Bowl for a second, we’re about to see the Super Bowl of election years!
I can’t remember an election season with so many televised debates and candidates. The drama, the excitement, the language; ouchies.
We are in full speed this election season, and once we’re down to two candidates, we’re going to be in maximum overdrive.
Although the Presidential Election is not until Nov. 1, 2016, this might be a good time to review some provisions required by the Department of Defense. As such, the department would like to remind everyone about a few requirements it expects of its workforce, particularly those in uniform.
The DOD has a longstanding policy of encouraging all of its personnel, including retirees, to carry out the obligations of citizenship. However, active duty members should not engage in partisan political activities and should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DOD sponsorship, approval or endorsement.
On the flip side, no candidate for office is permitted to engage in campaign- or election-related activities while on DOD installations or in DOD facilities.
Any political activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating with the DOD, or contrary to its policy, are to be avoided.
All members of the Armed Forces, including active duty, reserve, and retired members, are prohibited from wearing military uniforms at political campaign or election events. This prohibition is not applicable to the provision of joint Armed Forces color guards at the opening ceremonies of the national conventions of the Republican, Democrat, and other political parties formally recognized by the Federal Election Commission.
Nothing in DOD guidance is considered to prohibit free discussion about political issues or candidates for public office. However, no member of the Armed Forces or any federal civilian employee shall attempt to influence the voting or participation of any other member.
The DOD provides information so that all members of the Armed Forces, federal civilian employees and their eligible family members have the opportunity to register and vote.
To help facilitate and educate service members on voting, Congress established the Federal Voting Assistance Program. Its core mission is to provide voting assistance and to ensure service members, their families and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so from anywhere in the world.
One of the best resources available to help with the absentee and voting process, regardless of a citizen’s state of residence, is the FVAP Program website located at www.fvap.gov.
Here at Edwards, your 412th Test Wing Installation Voter Assistance Officers are Capt. Xiao Ren and David E. Freeman. For any questions about voting this year visit www.fvap.gov, email edwards.vote@us.af.mil or call 661-275-8683.




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