Service members overseas to get an online vote

Hundreds of airmen, reservists and ordinary American citizens living in other countries may be eligible to vote online next year, thanks to a government program that aims to simplify the absentee-ballot process.

The Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment is part of the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The program, started to improve poll access for military personnel, enables some personnel and overseas citizens to vote online, depending on their home state.

So far, more than 50 counties from seven states are expected to participate in the online program, but the list is expected to grow. The states already signed on include Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

Information on obtaining an absentee ballot and on how to vote is available at www.serveusa.gov.

'It is extremely important for us to ensure that every servicemember is afforded the opportunity to vote,' said Lt. Col. Deborah Divich, voting assistance officer for the Air Force Reserve Command.

If a servicemember's home county or state has not agreed to participate in the online program, people can still cast their vote by submitting a federal post card application to their local election official, Divich said. Every wing in the Air Force has a voting assistance officer to help military personnel with the voting process, Divich said.

For help filling out the application, people should contact their unit voting assistance officer or visit www.fvap.gov.

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