Voting Becomes Easier for the Mobile Military Life
As a guardian of our nation, you protect the American way of life. The Federal Voting Assistance Program is here to ensure you and your family are able to exercise your right to vote.
About three-quarters of the 1.3 million active-duty military members are eligible to vote absentee because they're stationed. Thanks to 2009 amendments to the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, its easier for relocated and overseas service members and spouses to register and submit absentee ballots.
Military Absentee Voting Made Simple
No matter where you are, the Federal Post Card Application lets you make sure your vote is counted in a few simple steps.
Today, states are required to send ballots to service members and eligible family members at least 45 days before federal elections and to provide electronic options for voters to receive those ballots. The change boosted the rate of successfully counted absentee ballots sent from service members, from 30% in 2006 to 53% in 2018.
FVAP helps you vote. Wherever you are.
FVAP provides assistance for service members and eligible family members to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and check the status of a ballot for federal offices no matter where they’re located.
Now it’s easier than ever to:
- Register to vote – whether it’s your first time, you have relocated, or you have separated from the military
- Request your absentee ballot
- Vote and submit your absentee ballot
Most states require you to register to vote or request an absentee ballot to start the process. The expanded use of electronic options for sending and receiving federal election materials has made it much easier to vote by absentee ballot. That’s important as two-thirds of military voters are absentee voters.
It’s best to start the absentee voting process early. Here are easy ways to demonstrate your readiness and ensure your vote is cast and counted:
- Use the Federal Post Card Application, which lets you easily register and request your ballot. When you receive your ballot, fill it out and send it in. Use FVAP’s easy online assistant to complete the application.
- Visit your Installation Voter Assistance Office for voting information and direct assistance. Drop by your IVA Office at any time but particularly when in-processing at a new duty station, deploying overseas or returning from deployment.
Many states allow you to submit your FPCA electronically, and all states allow for at least one form of electronic transmission to send you a blank ballot. Mail delivery times vary based on where you live. To make sure your vote is counted, mail your ballot early to allow for extra time.
Since voting materials that are mailed can’t be forwarded, it’s important for you to provide your election office with your new address after every move. Consider sending in a new FPCA every year.
Voting when transitioning out of the military
If you are transitioning to civilian life, you should notify your election office of your change in voter registration status and update your information, so that you can vote locally in the next election. Depending on whether you are staying in the same voting district after military separation, or if you are moving to a new state or county, there are just one or two easy steps to take, available here: https://www.fvap.gov/military-voter/transition.
When you want to vote – whether you’re entering the military, casting a ballot for the first time, relocating, or transitioning or retiring from the military – and have questions about casting your ballot – your Installation Voter Assistance Office or FVAP have the answers. Go to FVAP.gov or call 1-800-438-VOTE (8683).