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Staff Sgt. Stephanie Csornok, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of radio for American Forces Network at Misawa Air Base, Japan, beat out thousands of other entrants to win the Defense Department's 2003 voting slogan contest. She penned, "It's Your Future, VOTE For It."
Staff Sgt. Stephanie Csornok, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of radio for American Forces Network at Misawa Air Base, Japan, beat out thousands of other entrants to win the Defense Department's 2003 voting slogan contest. She penned, "It's Your Future, VOTE For It." (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Staff Sgt. Stephanie Csornok has won first place in the Department of Defense’s 2003 Voting Slogan Contest.

Her slogan, “It’s Your Future, VOTE For It,” was selected by an independent panel of judges from thousands of entries, according to the October issue of “Voting Information News.”

Csornok found out last Friday that she had won.

“I was like, ‘Whoa,’” she said. “I thought it was a good slogan, but I didn’t think it would be a winning slogan.”

Csornok said she entered her slogan at the last minute.

As the noncommissioned officer in charge of radio at American Forces Network here, Csornok learned of the contest from the base’s voting assistant officer, who asked the station to advertise it.

“When you read something every day on your show, sometimes you can’t help but think about it,” she said.

Her award-winning slogan “just kind of popped into my head, and I wrote it down,” Csornok said.

She submitted it shortly before the July 15 deadline.

Csornok, 29, from Elgin, Ill., says her slogan carries an important message: “Voting is an investment in your future, just as much as a retirement plan is,” she said. “You’re voting for lawmakers that will be passing or repealing laws that will ultimately determine how you live.”

For her efforts, Csornok will receive a plaque from the Secretary of Defense.

Her slogan also will be circulated worldwide. It will be featured in the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s 2004-05 voter outreach effort to motivate millions of citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, according to “Voting Information News.”

The slogan will be displayed on motivational posters and in the soon-to-be released 2004-05 Voting Assistance Guide.

The second- through fifth-place winners, who also will receive plaques from the Secretary of Defense, are:

• Staff Sgt. Trevor P. Allen, U.S. Marine Corps, Okinawa: “Our Country, Our Leaders, Our Choice, VOTE!”• Chief Petty Officer Noel D. Gravina, Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill.: “Decide Tomorrow Today. VOTE!”• Sylvia D. Johnson, a civilian employee of the U.S. Consulate in Sydney, Australia: “Celebrate Your Freedom! VOTE!”• Mary Jane Carty, a civilian employee of Fort Detrick, Md.: “Red, White, and Blue, Our Nation’s Freedom Depends on You, Vote!”

Contest judges included two congressional Representatives, a senator, the Minnesota secretary of state, and the chief executive officer of the Advertising Council Inc.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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