Make your voice heard through voting

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Saphfire Cook
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Many major decisions concerning today's military, such as retirement changes, are not being made only by branch leadership, but rather with civilian members of Congress. And although military members cannot participate in the arbitrations, they can still influence decisions through the officials they help elect. With the 2012 Presidential Election coming up in November and the primary elections already underway, now is the time to research candidates and register to vote.

With all the proposals for military budget cuts being weighed by Congress, voting can directly impact the future of an Airman's military career. Citizens can have a voice in the decision-making process by voting for like-minded officials.

According to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, almost 58 percent of military members registered to vote in 2010. Around 46 percent of those registered actually voted; one percent more than the general population. The very next year, those elected officials made the decision to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.

"Whether you're voting in a building or through an absentee ballot, this is a way to have your voice heard," said 1st Lieutenant Joshua Kennedy, 355th Mission Support Group chief of Plans and Readiness and one of D-M's voting assistance officers. "Elections can be landslides, or they can be won by a very small margin. Don't ever think 'a single vote doesn't matter' because that one vote could tip the scales in either direction."

Most active-duty members vote by absentee ballot, because one must vote in the state that is one's home of residence. So if your home of residence on file is in Delaware, you must receive an absentee ballot from the state of Delaware for your vote to be valid.

The easiest way for military members to receive an absentee ballot is to register for voting online. Voters can go to, and register by clicking "I am a uniformed service member or a family member."

"The FVAP website walks you through the process of registering and requesting a ballot," Kennedy said, "It also provides election dates for local and general elections. It tells you when you need to request your ballot and by what date you need to send it off."

In 1877 James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, said that people are responsible for the character of their Congress. U.S. citizens have the opportunity to choose the individuals that run their country.

"Not every country has the right to vote," Kennedy said. "As an American, I think that it is a duty and a privilege to exercise that right."

For more information about the voting process contact Lieutenant Kennedy at (520) 228-2208.