Miltary members, families need to register to vote early

With federal, state and local elections scheduled to be held on November 4, the Federal Voting Assistance Program is encouraging military members and their families to check their voting status to make sure they are properly registered if they had a permanent change of station or will be deployed during election season.

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The Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program helps ensure military members, their families and U.S. citizens living overseas are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources they need to do so. With federal, state and local elections scheduled to be held on November 4, FVAP is encouraging military members and their families to check their voting status to make sure they are properly registered if they had a permanent change of station or will be deployed during election season.

“What we’re telling military members and their families is to get started,” said Matt Boehmer, director of FVAP. “You need to register early.”

The easiest way to register remains the online federal postcard application which includes step-by-step instructions to ensure you register properly. Additionally, the Coast Guard has 15 voting assistance offices to assist members with registration, absentee ballots or other voting questions.

FVAP has instituted a number of new initiative for 2014 including a redesigned website to make it easier for younger, first-time voters to exercise their rights at the ballot box.

“A large portion [of voters] in the military are age 18 to 24,” said Boehmer. “What we want to do is show these younger military members that voting is easy.”

The new website prominently features a series of quick links with the most frequently sought after tools and information for voters – particularly absentee voting.

“We created an entire section of outreach materials on our website and we simply ask people to share them,” said Boehmer. “Simply getting the word out about the absentee voting process and how easy it is would be a big help to our program.”

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