Federal Voting Assistance Program officials advise those affected by Hurricane Michael who requested absentee ballots to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, or FWAB. Please contact your Installation Voter Assistance Office at an Airman & Family Readiness Center in your area to obtain an FWAB and voting-related information or assistance. You may also contact your local election official for information on how to cast your vote.
Contact information for IVA offices and local election offices can be found at https://www.fvap.gov/info/contact.
The Florida Department of State's top priority is ensuring there are ample opportunities for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Michael to cast ballots safely and securely in the general election on Nov. 6. Governor Scott issued Executive Order 18-283 on Oct. 18, which gives Supervisors of Elections in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties the authority to extend early voting and enhance vote-by-mail options in their counties.
If you are a voter in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty or Washington counties, you still have the option to vote-by-mail, vote early or vote on Election Day. Due to Hurricane Michael, early voting locations, dates, times and Election Day voting locations may have changed.
Supervisors of Elections in affected counties are required to report any changes to their early voting and Election Day schedule to the Florida DOS. As the department receives this information from Supervisors of Elections, it will update its website at https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/hurricane-michael-election-resources/.
If you are law enforcement, military, a first responder, utility line worker or volunteer assisting in the recovery effort in these affected counties, contact your county Supervisor of Elections for information on how you can cast your vote.
Supervisors of Elections in affected counties are taking steps to restore offices and operations. Please check your county Supervisor of Elections' website for the latest information. If you are unable to contact your county Supervisor of Elections by phone, you can find contact information at https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/hurricane-michael-election-resources/.
What if I am deployed?
While deployed members may be able to vote at their local polls before deploying or when they return, most deployed members must use the absentee voting process if they want to vote. Local briefings during the deployment processing phase should encourage deploying members to take a copy of two voting forms with them: a Federal Post Card Application and a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot.
People can contact their IVA Office for information or assistance before, during and after your deployment at IVA Office Contact Information. In the event you are unable to contact your IVA Office, individuals can also call the TFSC at 1-800-525-0102.
Why is voting different for military members and their families?
Military voting is different because extended or overseas absences can prevent service members from using normal state voting rules. A special law, called the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, requires that the states and territories allow certain groups to register and vote absentee in federal elections.
Who is eligible to vote under the UOCAVA law?
All U.S. active-duty service members (including Merchant Marines), their family members and U.S. citizens residing outside the U.S.
How do I vote by absentee ballot?
Elections are managed individually by state governments, which means there are 55 different sets of rules for absentee voting by service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens. The basic steps are:
1. You register to vote and request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application, and sending it to your election office in your state of legal residence.
2. Once the application is approved, the election office sends an absentee ballot to the individual.
3. After that, complete and return the voted absentee ballot to your election office by your state's deadline.
State rules, required forms and phone numbers for local election and voting offices can be found in the Voting Assistance Guide.
Where is my "legal voting residence?"
A proper legal voting residence is critical to ensuring a state’s timely approval of the registration, absentee ballot request and proper routing of the ballot to the voter. The voting residence is within your state of legal residence or domicile. It is the true, fixed address that one considers to be the permanent home and where one has/had a physical presence.
The state of legal residence and voting residence is sometimes mistaken for home of record. A voting residence may be the same as the home of record, but needs to be updated if and when one decides to establish a new state of legal residence. Military spouses and eligible family members may retain the sponsor’s or service member’s residency, keep the current and established residency or take the appropriate steps to establish a new residency.
To claim a new legal residence or domicile, consult the legal office since there may be other factors to consider such as tax implications and qualification for in-state tuition rates.
Regardless of the legal voting residency, the election office needs current contact information. The most efficient way to maintain current contact information is to complete a Federal Post Card Application annually with every change of address and at least 90 days prior to the election.
Unit Voting Assistance Officers
Each active duty unit with 25 or more members has a UVAO to provide voting assistance to unit personnel. UVAOs provide individuals with absentee voting information for their home states, including (but not limited to) election dates, absentee registration and voting procedures.
Federal Voting Assistance Program
People can access many voting related resources, questions and answers on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.
Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986, as amended
DoDI 1000.04, Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), 13 September 2012
AFGM 36-3107, Air Force Voting Assistance Program, 14 November 2017
AFI 51-902, Political Activities by Members of the U.S. Air Force, 27 August 2014