As we approach the U.S. presidential election, it’s important to remember the importance of participating in the most fundamental task associated with democracy — voting. As Americans, we can be proud of the fact that we have one of the oldest democratic governments in the world today.
Of course, this was achieved and maintained in large part by the men and women in uniform. We serve to defend and protect the Constitution and to uphold our American way of life. We can never take our great system of government for granted. It takes active participation by all, including service members, to ensure that our democracy, as well as our electoral process, remains vibrant, fair and representative of the will of Americans.
Whether we were there on the ground or somewhere else in the world watching TV, most of us can remember the images of Afghan and Iraqi citizens braving gunfire and bomb blasts for a chance of a better government and a better future.
For Americans, our challenge is not overcoming gunfire in order to vote, rather, it’s apathy. If you have not yet requested your absentee ballot for the election and would like to do so, take a minute to stop by one of the locations during the garrison’s Voters Assistance Weeks held in the fall. You can also go to www.FVAP.gov and use the online registration and absentee ballot assistant. The Military Postal Service Agency provides free expedited ballot delivery and ballot tracking to your local election office for military and their family members. Service members may go to the post office and use the Label 11 DOD form on their absentee ballot envelope and mail it in to request an overseas absentee ballot. Once completed, overseas personnel may visit www.usps.com to track the status of their ballot.
If you haven’t received your ballot by Oct. 6, use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot as your back-up ballot. To do so, visit www.FVAP.gov and use the automated assistant. For each office for which you vote, write in either a candidate’s name or their party designation. I challenge everyone to take an active part in this year’s election. Make your vote count. Get your absentee vote in time to have your voice heard!
Editor’s Note: For more information on voting, visit www.fvap.gov, or call the installation voting assistance officer.