Osan votes count in 2012 presidential election
9/7/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Presidential election is right around the corner and voting will begin stateside Nov. 6, 2012.
However, being stateside is not a requirement, said Maj. Jung Lee, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight commander and Osan voting officer. U.S. citizens overseas still have time to cast their vote.
"Just because you cannot physically go to the booth to vote does not mean you are unable to be heard," he said. "You can submit your ballot through mail or fax."
Lee urges base members who have not started the voting process to begin now, as time is running out.
To begin the process, citizens can visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at www.fvap.gov.
The website is easily navigated, Lee explained.
"It's all self explanatory," he said. "The whole process took me only 10 minutes to complete. All I did was follow the step-by-step process, print out the three forms and take them to the post office."
On site, voters can request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application and mailing it to their local election official in the state in which they are eligible to vote.
Election officials have the authority to approve or disapprove the request. Applications can be disapproved due to factors such as citizenship, age or being convicted of a felony.
If approved, the ballot is mailed back to be filled out and returned by the state's deadline.
"State deadlines vary," Lee said. "I encourage everyone to fill out the application as soon as possible because it could take a few weeks for the ballot to be returned to you, and you'll want the time to send it back."
The Osan Post Office is prepared to aid in the shipment of absentee applications and ballots.
According to the FVAP website, when mailed from any U.S. post office, U.S. embassy or consulate, or overseas military base mail facility, the hardcopy voter registration and absentee ballot form is postage-paid.
"We send them out as priority shipping and the ballots return first class," said Staff Sgt. Clinton Pinkston, 51st Communication Squadron postal finance NCO in charge. "The express only takes three to five days, while the first class shipping takes five to seven days."
The proposed absentee ballot mailing deadline date for Osan's mailing office is Oct. 30.
"It is your privilege as a U.S. citizen to be able to vote," Lee said. "As a service member, you protect that right, you should exercise it and your vote could make the difference."
For more information or for assistance, contact a unit voting officer.