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In time for an expected boom in interest for this fall’s election, U.S. Army Europe has set up a new Voting Assistance Hotline for soldiers, civilians and their families, said Maj. Brett Lindsey, voting assistance officer for the 1st Personnel Command.

Three voting-assistance officers staff the hotline from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will return any messages left during those hours. Lindsey said it is the first time USAREUR has operated such a hotline.

The hotline opened July 20, he said, and the officers fielded “several dozen” calls in its first two weeks of operation. Most questions have come from civilians, retirees and military spouses, and topics have included the location of their nearest voting assistance officer, where to send the Federal Post Card Applications, and what the deadline is for submitting their ballot.

“In most cases, we’ve been able to answer their questions in a couple of minutes,” Lindsey said in an e-mail.

Absentee ballot rules vary widely from state to state, and Lindsey said many overseas military people don’t bother to vote. This year, though, with issues such as the Iraq war and military transformation at the heart of the presidential race, the stakes could be enormous for servicemembers and their families.

“Many of the callers we’ve spoken to said they had not voted in years, but felt motivated to participate this time,” Lindsey said. “Voting Assistance Officers throughout USAREUR are preparing for a big increase in voter interest as the election day gets nearer.”

The hotline number is DSN 379-9712 or commercial 06202- 80-9712. Lindsey said it will remain open until Nov. 2, Election Day.

Besides calling the hotline, Lindsey said, personnel can email specific questions to USAREURVote@hq.1perscom.army.mil.

Additional voting information is also available on the 1st PERSCOM Website http://www.1perscom.army.mil or through the Federal Voting Assistance Program at vote@fvap.ncr.gov and at http://www.fvap.gov.


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