Army pushes voter registration in Area II
February 15, 2004
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Eighth Army officials are running an aggressive campaign to register eligible voters in light of the Defense Department’s recent canceling of an online voting program.
On Friday, about 60 senior voting assistance officers were briefed on how to help soldiers register to vote and receive absentee ballots.
“We do make a difference,” said Capt. Zuleika Jackson-Jones, who briefed the group. “It’s very important that we get out there.”
The Army wants 100 percent of its soldiers, civilians and family members to get a Federal Post Card Application to register to vote and receive an absentee ballot. The card takes about 10 minutes to fill out, is postage-free, and users must identify the county or city where they last voted.
Servicemembers should use an address in their state of legal residence if it differs from their military home of record, said Capt. Enitra Coleman, 8th Army’s voting assistance officer.
Some states require a witness or notary to sign the form before it is accepted. People should have their unit voting assistance officer review their form before sending it, Coleman said.
Voting information is also available at www.fvap.com, and unit voting assistance officers have copies of the 2004-05 Voting Assistance Guide, a 372-page book with specifics for all states and territories.
If the form is not filled out correctly or the block requiring a signature is left blank, counties will not accept the form, Jackson-Jones said.
An online version is available at www.fvap.gov/pubs/onlinefpca.html, but it must be printed and mailed at the sender’s expense. Voters from American Samoa and Guam can’t use the online form.
People should complete the Federal Post Card Application as soon as possible, as states and territories also have different registration deadlines, officials said. Early registration also ensures a person can return an absentee ballot on time to be counted.
Even if voters receive late absentee ballots, they should still return them as soon as possible. Some states and territories will allow for counting beyond Election Day if the ballot is postmarked on or before the date of the election, according to the Voting Assistance Guide.
In Area II, officials are planning voter registration drives on Feb. 28; March 13; April 3 and 17; May 1, 15 and 30; June 12; and July 4, 17 and 31. Coleman said the drives will include registration booths at commissaries and post exchanges.
Activities also are planned for Army Voters’ Registration month in August and Armed Forces Voters’ Week, Sept. 3-11.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.