Air Force

September 14, 2012

Federal voting assistance program eases registration, ballot process

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D. C. — With Election Day about two months away, absentee military and overseas citizen voters can enjoy a streamlined process to register, obtain a ballot and exercise their right to vote, a Federal Voting Assistance Program official said in a Pentagon news conference, Sept. 5.

Pam Mitchell, the program’s acting director, outlined new outreach initiatives designed to make voting assistance more innovative and user-friendly than ever before, with an emphasis on engaging junior military personnel, the largest segment of the Defense Department population.

“We firmly believe that voting assistance for our absentee voters is absolutely the best that it’s ever been,” Mitchell said. “There are a lot of tools in our arsenal to help those voters both register, get an absentee ballot and to exercise their right to vote.”

Mitchell explained that FVAP offers a variety of tools through its “online wizard,” which among other features, can even help users ready ballot envelopes for posting by printing the correct address on them.

FVAP has customized its tools, Mitchell said, focusing on the 18-to-25-year-old demographic, given their familiarity and general preference for gleaning information from the Internet and communicating through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

“We have a mobile website we just unveiled last week so that using a smartphone or a tablet from anywhere you may be, you can obtain access to our information and our tools,” Mitchell said.

In January, Mitchell said, officials also took to email accounts to broaden outreach. “We use email blasts to every member within a dot-mil email address to remind them how they can register to vote and that it’s time to vote,” Mitchell said.

Outside of the electronic domain, FVAP maintains a call center that operates five days a week from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. EDT and can be used by voters worldwide to get help on how to file an absentee ballot.

For in-person interaction, Mitchell said, voting assistance officers and installation voter assistance offices remain available as prescribed by the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. She acknowledged findings in a recently released DOD Inspector General report that indicated difficulties in reaching a number of IVA offices based on dated contact information.

“In a military environment, things change,” Mitchell said, citing personnel movements and joint basing as factors. “We … agree with the IG that the most important thing we can do is to find the most effective way to maintain assistance for all of our absentee voters and we are absolutely committed [to that].” Investing in intuitive, easy-to-use Web-based tools, supplemented by well-trained unit voting assistance officers — rather than installation voter assistance offices — could substantially reduce cost and improve voting assistance, she added.

“By law, all states must offer electronic delivery of the ballot, but the voter, when applying for the ballot, can elect to receive it that way or may elect to receive it in the mail,” Mitchell said. “Over the last six months, we spent a lot of time reaching out to every single one of the 221 installation voting offices. We’re confident that the information on our website today is accurate and has the most up-to-date contacts.”

Between now and the election, Mitchell said, FVAP officials will continue to make weekly calls to each of the installation voter assistance offices to ensure they are accurately able to capture changes that may occur.

“Our goal is to make sure that anyone who wants to vote has the resources and tools they need from anywhere in the world to successfully exercise that right,” Mitchell said.

Active-duty members of the armed forces, Merchant Marine, Public Health Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, their family members and U.S. citizens who are living outside the United States for work, school or other reasons can use FVAP.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Air Force revamps Air Expeditionary Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force will deploy Agile Combat Support (ACS) Airmen under its redesigned air expeditionary force (AEF) construct October 1. The primary purpose of the redesign was to look at ways to deploy more ACS Airmen with their units and standardize dwell times across the Air Force as much as possible to...
 
 

Air Force’s top leader discusses Reserve future

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Citizen Airmen have an advocate at the very top of Air Force. During a visit to Robins Air Force Base, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James discussed several issues related to the Air Force Reserve’s future. As the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard continue to...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Rick Sforza, 4th Combat Camera Squadron

March host wing contributes to overall success of Mobility Air Force mission

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt Rick Sforza, 4th Combat Camera Squadron A KC-135R from the 336th Air Refueling Squadron refuels a C-17A from the 729th Airlift Squadron. Both aircraft are from the Air Force Reserve Command’s ...
 

 

BASH: Protecting our aircraft, Airmen

U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Bari Wald David Briseño, wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture and head of Marchs’ Bird/Anti-Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program, prepares to fire a 12-gauge ‘shell cracker’ into the air with his shotgun. Firing ‘shell crackers’ is one of many pyrotechnic methods used in the BASH program to...
 
 
US_Air_Force_Logo

Strategic agility is the future of the Air Force

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — As the Air Force prepares for new challenges and opportunities of the coming decades, it faces sobering 21st-century realities: global centers of power have become more distributed and the terrorism th...
 
 

SECAF: Air Force grapples with Congress to fund readiness

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — To balance readiness today and modernization tomorrow, the Air Force’s fiscal year 2015 budget request is shrinking like today’s defense budget thanks to Congress’s own priorities and the approaching threat of sequestration in 2016, Air Force leaders said July 30. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin