The abundance of Halloween candy at the commissary means one thing (besides impending sugar overload and kids in cute costumes): Election Day is fast approaching. But there is still time for military spouses to request absentee ballots for the November 2nd elections. It’s a simple process that takes less time than reading this post. To request yours, go to the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, which provides voting help for servicemembers and their spouses. The site will walk you through the easy process of filling out an absentee ballot request form, which you must print out and send — via snail mail — to your home state. Don’t delay: Deadlines for ballot requests vary by state. In Texas, for example, it must be received by October 26; in Alaska, it’s October 23.
Why might you need an absentee ballot? Perhaps you will be away from home on R&R or a business trip. Or, like me, you may be registered to vote in a different state than the one in which you live. Thanks to the 2009 Military Spouse Residency Relief Act, qualified military wives and husbands no longer have to change their official state of residence simply because their spouses’ current military assignments took them to a new state. So, for instance, when the Army moved my husband and me from Fort Drum, New York, to Massachusetts last year, I was not obligated to become a Massachusetts resident. I chose to keep my New York residency. That means that although I live in Boston, I pay state taxes to New York, my driver’s license is from New York, and, perhaps most importantly, I vote in New York.
Two tricks military spouses need to know. As a military spouse who lives in one state and votes in another, I found the “address” sections on the ballot request form confusing. I talked to both a JAG officer (military lawyer) at Hanscom Air Force Base and an election official, who clarified how to correctly fill out the form. This is what to do: