Air Force officials recently released guidance that streamlines the organizational structure and functions of the Air Force Voting Assistance Program.
A November 2017 Air Force guidance memorandum realigned the program under installation Airman and Family Readiness Centers, thereby eliminating voting assistance officers as an additional duty at Air Force units. The move is part of an Air Force-wide effort to reduce Airmen’s additional duties so they can more effectively focus on their core missions.
The Air Force Voting Assistance Program ensures Airmen, their eligible family members and overseas U.S. citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the necessary tools and resources to do so worldwide. Program representatives assist with voter registration and absentee ballots, coordinate voting awareness campaigns and answer various voting questions.
“Having the Voting Assistance Program knowledge base located at the Airman and Family Readiness Centers makes it more convenient for Airmen to get the information they need since they already attend mandatory arrival and departure briefings there,” said Kelly Weakly, Air Force Voting Assistance Operations Program manager at the Air Force’s Personnel Center.
Airmen are also required to attend pre- and post-deployment briefings at their installation Airman and Family Readiness Centers if they are deploying for six months or more. Before deploying, voting assistance officers remind Airmen to update their temporary address (deployed location) and obtain an absentee ballot in case there is an election while deployed.
Deploying Airmen also receive a Federal Post Card Application that can be used to register to vote, request an absentee ballot and submit a change of address to local election officials. During their reintegration brief, voting assistance representatives remind Airmen to change their address back to their home address to ensure they receive their absentee ballots at the correct location.
In addition to deployments, active-duty Airmen are also required to check into the centers when separating from the service or retiring.
“During each of these touchpoints, we provide Airmen voting forms and an information sheet to make the voting process as easy and convenient as possible,” Weakly said. “Our goal is to ensure our active-duty members and their families are fully informed and can exercise their right to vote.”
Visit AFPC’s Air Force Voting Assistance page or go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s web site at https://www.fvap.gov/ for more information.
By Richard Salomon, Air Force’s Personnel Center Public Affairs