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Federal Voting Assistance Program helps service members exercise their right to vote

By David DeKunder | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Aug. 6, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Service members at Joint Base San Antonio who are away from home can vote in the Nov. 6 general election through the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or FVAP, providing them a convenient way to cast their ballots.

FVAP ensures that service members, whether they are stationed in the U.S. or overseas, their eligible family members and U.S. citizens residing overseas are able to exercise their right to vote by providing them the tools and resources they need to do so, from anywhere in the world.

The program is administered following the guidelines of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, or UOCAVA, on behalf of the Secretary of Defense. UOCAVA requires that states transmit requested absentee ballots to voters covered by the act no later than 45 days before a federal election.

Ann Mancillas, FVAP voting assistance officer and work/life consultant at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center, said the FVAP program provides two options for servicemembers and their eligible family members to cast their ballots for the Nov. 6 election, in which federal and state offices throughout the U.S. will be contested.

One option is to go to FVAP.org to register and request an absentee ballot by downloading the Federal Post Card Application, or FPCA, form. Once it is completed, the FPCA form or forms must be sent to the local election office in the state the service member and their family member is a resident of. The FVAP website has links to election offices in all U.S. states and territories. Service members will then receive their ballots and after casting their votes, return the ballot to the state they reside in.

Also, service members or their family members can request an FPCA form from a voting assistance officer at Military & Family Readiness Centers at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, 3060 Stanley Road, building 2797; JBSA-Lackland, 2160 Kenly Ave., building 1249; and JBSA-Randolph, 555 F Street West, building 693.

A FVAP voting assistance officer helps service members and their family members in making sure they understand their voting rights, including how to register as an absentee voter and having access to nonpartisan voting information and assistance.

In order to vote absentee, service members and their family members must meet registration and ballot request and return deadlines, which vary from state to state. For service members who are Texas residents, registration must be received by Oct. 9 and ballot requests by Oct. 26, with ballots mailed and returned by Election Day.

“We want to encourage people to vote,” Mancillas said. “Your voice matters, every voice matters.”

D.C. Lanier, FVAP voting assistance officer and community readiness specialist at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center, said it is important for service members to exercise their right to vote and have their voices heard.

“It determines the direction of our country and as military members who are bestowed for the defense of our country, it’s even more important we participate in the process,” Lanier said.

For information about the FVAP program contact the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center at 210-221-2705, the JBSA-Lackland Military & Family Readiness Center at 210-671-3722, and the JBSA-Randolph Military & Family Readiness Center at 210-652-5321.