Commentary by Army Maj. Gen. Michael Garrett
USARAK Commanding General
10/12/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Voting is a privilege we as citizens enjoy and defend as Soldiers in the United States Army. Therefore, it is our duty and responsibility to exercise this privilege and ensure all Army personnel are also equipped to exercise this privilege.
As the 2012 presidential election draws near on Nov. 6, participation and vigilance are increasingly more important to ensure we have a successful voting assistance program. Commanders at every level must ensure the proper resources are allocated in order to create a strong foundation for voting assistance programs across U.S. Army Alaska.
Capable and quality unit voting assistance officers are integral for the success of unit voting assistance programs. Commanders must appoint a UVAO for 25 or more permanently assigned personnel in the unit and an additional UVAO for each additional 50 personnel above the 25 member base.
UVAOs are the subject matter experts on the Federal Voting Assistance Program and the commander's representative to all personnel. Commanders should utilize their UVAOs as an asset to reach eligible voters in their organization and ensure they have the resources necessary to vote.
The majority of our Soldiers use the absentee ballot to vote. Therefore, it is necessary for each Soldier to account for postal transit time from their duty station to their local election office. The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot is available online at https://www.fvap.gov. The completed FWAB must be received by the local election office before the deadline established by their state. Unit Voting Assistance Officers have access to mail-in deadlines for all states and territories. Ensure your Soldiers know who their UVAOs are and allow sufficient time for these officers to execute their duties.
Thank you for all your support and dedication to the USARAK Voting Assistance Program. Please direct any voting questions or inquires to the USARAK Voting Assistance Office in USARAK G-l at 384-1042.