American service members can exercise their voting rights while overseas

U.S. Marines participate in the Federal Voting Assistance Program at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 11, 2018. The program an interactive, hands-on training session, oriented toward installation and unit voting officers to ensure service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so - from anywhere in the world. (Cpl. Andre Heath/U.S. Army)
July 09, 2020

Americans have the right to vote wherever they are, and the process for doing so while overseas is simple.

U.S. citizens can go online, fill out a form, print and sign it and send it to the voter registrar at their home state of record.

“Voting is a right that we all defend,” said 2nd Lt. Nathan Laughlin, of 2nd Theater Signal Brigade and the installation voting assistance officer for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. “Whether you’re a contractor, civilian, a family member or a Soldier, you are defending the right to vote with your presence here at the garrison overseas serving your country.”

For the general election, the Federal Voting Assistance Program recommends voters send their Federal Post Card Application by Aug. 1 to ensure ample time to receive their ballot and mail it back before the deadline. When voters use the FPCA, their ballot will be sent at least 45 days before the election.

Laughlin stressed the importance of voting not only in the presidential election, but at the state and local levels as well.

“It’s very important to vote,” he said. “You can make an impact even when you’re overseas.”

People must vote in their home state of record, Laughlin said. This does not necessarily mean where a person owns property, but for military voters is usually the last address a person lived in their state of legal residence, or for civilians the last place they lived in the U.S. before moving overseas.

Laughlin has set up a table at the Exchange on Hainerberg to provide instructions and contact information for those needing assistance with voting.

The general election is Nov. 3. FVAP recommends citizens send a new FPCA every January and each time they move to a new location.

For more information and to register and request a ballot, go to Voters should reach out to their organization’s voting assistance officer or contact Laughlin at [email protected] or (0611) 143-565-3602.