By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed, freeing the 13 Colonies of British rule and birthing the United States of America as it’s known today.
Voting is what enables the citizens of the United States to elect their leaders and shape the policies, which govern the land.
“A lot of people have died to give us the opportunity to vote,” said Mel Castille, 50th Force Support Squadron Airmen and Family Readiness Center personal and work life specialist and alternate installation voting assistance officer. “It’s a right every American has earned; it’s our constitutional duty to vote.”
Serving in the armed forces can complicate the voting process as many have never voted, let alone voted away from home.
“[For those] individuals [who] aren’t registered, [or may not] know if they’re registered or [haven’t] received their absentee ballots,” said Kendra Humphrey, 50th FSS AFRC installation voting assistance officer. “We’re here to make sure all Airmen have the ability to vote.”
At all AFRCs in the Air Force, Airmen can fill out a federal postcard application. This application will register an Airman to vote in the location of their permanent residence and request an absentee ballot for the voter. The AFRC can help Airmen fill out the form and from there, mail it out for free.
Fortunately, for Airmen at Schriever, they don’t have to go to the AFRC to receive assistance.
“Almost every squadron on base has unit voting assistance officers,” Humphrey said. “Depending on the size of the squadron, units will have one-to-eight UVAOs who [are] trained under the federal voting assistance program to help guide members through the process.”
Unit voting assistance officers are appointed by squadron commanders and are capable of performing the same duties as the IVAO.
Airmen can also use the Federal Voting Assistance Program to guide them through the registration process. Absentee ballots can be requested through the FVAP, but the deadline for the 2020 election is Aug. 1. The FVAP also lists when elections are for each state and provides a countdown to the general election.
If an Airman is deploying, they can still vote. However, they must contact the AFRC before deploying and request an absentee ballot be sent to the location to which they’re deploying. Conversely, Airmen can request a digital absentee ballot to be sent as well.
“When people don’t vote, those numbers add up, and it could make a significant shift in the election [results],” Humphrey said.
To learn more, contact Humphrey or Castille at 719-567-3920.