Thursday, November 15, 2018
 

EXERCISE THE MOST IMPORTANT RIGHT YOU SERVE TO PROTECT! VOTE!


EXERCISE THE MOST IMPORTANT RIGHT YOU SERVE TO PROTECT! VOTE!

Stephan Patterson, Belvoir Installation Voting Officer,talks to people about voting at the Exchange.
Photo by Eliza Cantrell

With elections around the corner, Belvoir’s voting officer can help everyone, no matter where they’re from, to ensure they are properly registered as a voter and know how to vote.

“It’s important to vote, not just in the Presidential election, but in all elections,” said Stephan Patterson, installation voting officer. “We have the midterm that is coming up … and a lot people don’t realize that is just as important as the pre-election, because you’re voting for your representatives. You’re voting for the people who share your views.”

He suggests voters research the candidates by taking into account what’s important for them. For example, Patterson said, as a retired veteran with 22 years of service, he wants to know candidates’ views on military benefits. Overall, he looks at past voting records of those who are seeking a political office.

“I look at their voting record to answer, ‘Is this guy telling me the truth or is he telling me what I want to hear?” Patterson said.

He also warned voters to watch out for Facebook memes and advertisements on TV or radio and instead be diligent in their research.

“Do the research on the person and place your vote accordingly. That way, you are making a well-educated vote,” he said.

The most common mistakes/important to know information before registering:

- Where to register to vote

- Updating addresses to properly receive states’ absentee ballots

- Absentee ballot request deadlines

- Registering in the state they’re stationed in, but where they aren’t legal residents, which is an especially common mistake of military families

When should you register to vote/What is the Absentee Ballot Deadline?

Deadlines differ by state. Specific info is available at fvap.gov.

College students

Non-resident college students can vote via their parents’ home state by absentee ballot; or traveling home to vote

Students who claim residency can vote in the state they’re attending school

Absentee ballots

Patterson has Federal Post Card Applications, also available at fvap.gov, which have to be mailed.

Didn’t get your absentee ballot?

Go to fvap.gov, get a Federal Write-in absentee ballot, fill out the information and send it to your election office. Addresses for election offices are also on the website.

Different policies apply for recent college grads and former family members; voting in a former spouse’s state; military spouses and family members.

Potential voters with residency questions should contact the local judge advocate general office.



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