News: Time to vote is now, Marine voting officers offer help
Story by Cpl. Joshua Young
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The deadline to register to vote and mail in absentee ballots is fast approaching.
The Friday before an election is the last possible day to apply for an absentee ballot.
Each battalion in the Marine Corps has a voting representative. The voting officer’s job is to ensure Marines know how to vote and have the opportunity to do so.
Voting officers in the Marine Corps encourage Marines and their families to vote as soon as possible to avoid losing the opportunity.
1st Lt. Eric Gutierrez, the Headquarters Company commander of 9th Communication Battalion, and the battalion’s voting officer, encourages Marines to not wait until the last day to vote because it’s their constitutional right to exercise the opportunity, and they could miss the chance.
“My job is to help Marines and their families with all their voting questions or concerns,” said Gutierrez, 27, from Fenton, Mich. “Every vote counts and it’s important everyone gets that opportunity.”
Marines receive absentee ballot registration information via e-mails prior to elections and are encouraged to register in advance. The voting officers provide registration instructions and guidance upon request.
“We’re afforded the opportunity to vote for those who are going to be representing us, whether it’s at the local level or at the federal level with our commander and chief,” Gutierrez said. “I think it’s important that Marines exercise that right because they’re choosing who they want to lead them.”
The website for service members to register for their absentee ballot is www.fvap.gov. The website’s purpose is to help uniformed service members, their families and other citizens living outside the U.S., with their voting needs.
Before someone can vote for the first time, they need to register. Fvap.gov answers all registration concerns. The process for registration varies from state to state. Some states require a registration for every election, while others require voters to remain active to keep their registration current. The registration can either be done electronically or through hard copy, which is mailed to a person’s registration office in their home state, depending on which state he or she is registering.
Sending in a ballot follows the same process as above. The website offers specific directions on a state’s absentee process. Again, it can be either sent in electronically or mailed, depending on the state’s procedures.
To find out if you are registered, visit www.canivote.org, select your state and fill out the appropriate information.
To find out if your ballot was received, visit the website, www.fvap.gov, click get started under the service member option, select your state and select ‘Get Started’ under ‘Track My Ballot’.
For any other questions or concerns contact your unit’s voting officer.