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.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan

March Key Spouse Program kicks off initial training

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Valerie Fioretta, key spouse facilitator and director of the Airman and Family Readiness Center, March Air Reserve Base, explains an exercise to participants during an init...
 
 

‘Tis the season for holiday health

The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, celebrate life, to be grateful, and reflect on what’s important. They are also a time to appreciate the gift of health. Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and safety this season. Wash your hands often. Keeping hands...
 
 

California DMV to unveil Veteran driver license, ID card

Late next year, California’s nearly two million Veterans will have the chance to get a special Veteran marking on their California driver license or ID card. The word “VETERAN” on their card will indicate they have served in the United States Armed Forces. The Veteran designation will cost an additional $5. To get the new...
 

 

Safety Tips for this holiday season

It’s that time of year once again, and the March ARB Fire Prevention wants to ensure your safety during the holiday season. It is our pleasure to share the following safety tips to help you enjoy the holiday season. Only flame-proof decorations are authorized for use on March ARB. Special decorations or temporary arrangements for...
 
 

CAL FIRE warns of home heating dangers during winter storms

As a major winter storm prepares to hit California, CAL FIRE is reminding residents to take steps to heat their homes safely. While the cooler weather and rain is a welcomed event during a time of severe drought in California, it also means that many will need to turn on home heating sources to keep...
 
 

Gen. Hyten: Future of AF is air, space, cyberspace integration

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The commander of Air Force Space Command talked about the fundamental relationship between space operations and everyday life – not only for the military, but for the American people – during a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club, Dec. 5. Gen. John E. Hyten, the AFSPC commander, explained the complexities of global...
 




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