WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Fall elections are almost here and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) wants to ensure Sailors and their family members exercise their right to vote by providing the Voting Assistance Program Navy-wide.
"It is important to vote. Plain and simple," said Vice Admiral Mike Vitale, CNIC. "At CNIC, we're ensuring every Sailor and his family has the opportunity to vote this year whether you're deployed, living overseas or stateside." "We've made it easy by either going on line or contacting your Command Voting Assistance Officer. Don't let your living location or deployed status keep you from voting."
"For persons who need to register to vote and obtain an absentee ballot, they can fill out the Federal Post Card Application (SF 76) which serves as both voter registration and absentee ballot request according to Dave Stevens, CNIC Navy Voting Assistance Program manager. You can fill out the form online since it is a digital PDF file, print it and mail or fax to the Sailor's local election office. These forms are available online at www.fvap.gov."
CNIC Voting Assistance Officers will also have hard copies of voter registration applications and absentee ballots available.
The final step is to complete the Federal Post Card Application and to mail it to your Local Election Official in the county of the state (this includes all American territories and the District of Columbia) the Sailor or family member is registered to vote.
"You can complete the Federal Post Card Application online or print it off and fill it out by hand," said Stevens. "No envelope or postage is required. It's designed to be folded, sealed and mailed securely at no cost to the voter. Many states even accept a fax of the form."
For those voters who find their absentee ballot has not arrived, the use of the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (SF-186) is authorized during this year's election cycle.
"The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (SF 186) will be available for those voters who did not obtain their absentee ballot. CNIC Voting Assistance Officers should also have copies of this form," he said.
Stevens continued, "As a general rule, anyone submitting an absentee ballot needs to have the ballot post marked by Nov. 2 and received no later than two weeks after that date to be counted in the election. Since voting is run by the states and is not a Federal program, the rules for deadline for casting ballots may differ a little from state to state. To make certain your vote is counted, it is best to have it in the mail and post marked by Nov. 2."
Regardless of their current duty station, CNIC's Fleet Family Readiness program will ensure Sailors and their family members have the option of absentee voting if they elect to use that option.
Voting information is readily available online from the FVAP website or from the 2010-2011 Voting Assistance Guide. More than 10,000 copies of the guide were mailed to 1,500 Navy installations. A copy is available from regional or base Navy Voting Assistance Officers.
Commander, Navy Installations Command was established in 2003. The command was created to execute delivery of services across the Navy installation domain. It currently consists of a Washington, D.C., echelon II headquarter staff, 11 regional staffs, and 77 installations worldwide. CNIC force consists of more than 58,000 military, civilian and contractors serving the ashore community.
For more information on the Navy Voting Assistance Program, visit www.cnic.navy.mil.
For more news from Commander, Navy Installations Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cni/.