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Absentee Voters Week 2010

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Absentee Voters Week, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 4, has been set aside by Department of Defense officials for voters to recognize the military's focus on preserving the right to vote and encouraging absentee voters to do so.

The goals of Absentee Voters Week are to emphasize and encourage voters to register and request absentee ballots if they have not yet done so, and to encourage those who already have registered and received their ballots to complete their absentee ballots and return them to their local election officials.

DOD officials have taken steps to make absentee voting easier for servicemembers, their families, and federal employees working overseas. What used to be a complicated process of having to check the Voting Assistance Guide for state-specific requirements and deadlines for absentee voting has now been automated.

Voters can click on to fill in the Federal Post Card Application using a wizard that assists absentee voters with filling in the form based on their particular state/county of residence.

If voters do not receive their ballot by Oct. 2, they should use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot as a back-up ballot.

Similar to the FPCA wizard, voters can click on to fill in the FWAB using a wizard that assists with filling in the form, again based on voters' particular state and county of residence.

Once completed, voters print out the form, sign and return it to their local election official.

The wizards produce a PDF package that includes a postage-paid envelope template, a security envelope template, instructions to election officials, state-specific information and submission instructions, a voter's declaration/affirmation, and a write-in ballot pre-populated with the information and candidates the voter entered in the FWAB wizard. If the state allows faxed returns, the wizard will also prepare a fax cover sheet with the fax number to the local election official.

If voters receive their state ballot after submitting the FWAB, they should vote and return the state ballot as well. State officials will only count the FWAB if the state ballot is not received by the deadline.

(Courtesy of 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs)