Officials Encourage Absentee Voters to Cast Ballots

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2006 - A letter sent by the National Association of Secretaries of State urges all military and overseas absentee voters to cast their ballots in the upcoming Nov. 7 elections and assures them that their vote will be counted.

The letter, sent yesterday by NASS president Deborah Markowitz, reminds U.S. citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act that the deadline for returning their absentee ballot is approaching.

"Uniformed service members and overseas citizens are a vital part of the American community, and their participation in the democratic process is essential to strengthening the fabric of our country," wrote Markowitz, Vermont's secretary of state.

She encourages citizens covered by the act who submitted a Federal Post Card Application since Jan. 1, 2004, and haven't received their state absentee ballot to submit the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot as soon as possible.

This backup "emergency" ballot is available to citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and is accepted by all states and territories to vote for federal offices in general elections.

Paper copies of the form are available at military installations, embassies and consulates and from organizations of overseas citizens and electronic forms are posted online at the Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site,

Citizens using this form should vote and submit it immediately using regular mail or, where allowed by state law, by fax or e-mail, to their local election officials, Markowitz said. The FVAP's Integrated Voting Alternative Site at shows citizens if fax or e-mail alternatives are permitted in their home state.

Voters who receive their state absentee ballot after submitting the write-in ballot should vote and return the absentee ballot up until Nov. 7, officials said.

Information about candidates running in state elections is posted on the Federal Voting Assistance Program site at and at the National Association of Secretary of States' site at, Markowitz said.

Markowitz said she speaks for all election officials in encouraging U.S. citizens overseas to vote. "We are committed to safeguarding the fundamental rights of all citizens to exercise their voice through voting," she said. "Responsibility has no borders. Vote!"

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