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Mike Setaro, director of the Naples Retired Activities Office in Naples, helps Americans living in southern Italy with voter registration forms. Setaro volunteered at a voter registration drive sponsored by the American Women’s Club in downtown Naples over the weekend.

Mike Setaro, director of the Naples Retired Activities Office in Naples, helps Americans living in southern Italy with voter registration forms. Setaro volunteered at a voter registration drive sponsored by the American Women’s Club in downtown Naples over the weekend. (Lisa Novak / S&S)

Mike Setaro, director of the Naples Retired Activities Office in Naples, helps Americans living in southern Italy with voter registration forms. Setaro volunteered at a voter registration drive sponsored by the American Women’s Club in downtown Naples over the weekend.

Mike Setaro, director of the Naples Retired Activities Office in Naples, helps Americans living in southern Italy with voter registration forms. Setaro volunteered at a voter registration drive sponsored by the American Women’s Club in downtown Naples over the weekend. (Lisa Novak / S&S)

Outgoing U.S. Vice Consul Tony Deaton helps Belenda Simms fill out a registration application at a voter registration drive sponsored by the American Women’s Club in downtown Naples.

Outgoing U.S. Vice Consul Tony Deaton helps Belenda Simms fill out a registration application at a voter registration drive sponsored by the American Women’s Club in downtown Naples. (Lisa Novak / S&S)

With some states scheduling primaries for the 2008 presidential election earlier than usual, Americans overseas should allow enough time to register to vote, according to U.S. Embassy officials in Naples, Italy.

J. Patrick Truhn, new consul general at the U.S. Embassy in Naples, Italy, and Tony Deaton, the outgoing vice consul, were on hand to lend support for a voter registration drive over the weekend.

The American Women’s Club of Naples, which sponsored the event, signed up 20 new voters and distributed materials to others at the Anglican Christ Church in downtown Naples.

Truhn stressed the importance of this election and noted that events like the registration drive are important to make sure Americans overseas get their ballots in time to vote.

“Even though you’re overseas, things like the Internet and streaming video give you many opportunities to receive information on candidates and issues,” Truhn said. “I encourage you to educate and inform yourselves and exercise your right to vote.”

The club normally holds a registration drive early in the election year, but with the early primaries, some overseas voters have already received primary ballots. The club may hold another event if needed.

The club plans to contact the estimated 70,000 Americans living in southern Italy and help explain to people how they can vote.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program provides instructions on overseas voting at www.fvap.gov. The site provides information for overseas citizens whether they are affiliated with the U.S. government or not.

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