SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
It's election time, and being overseas doesn't disqualify you from participating. Whatever your political affiliation, the Federal Voting Assistance Program is here to help your voice be heard.
In addition to this resource, the installation voting assistance officer is in place to answer any questions and guide you smoothly through the process.
"The biggest difference between absentee voting overseas and stateside absentee voting is the mailing deadline," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jasmine Dixon, 52nd Fighter Wing voting assistance officer. "For Spangdahlem, it takes approximately eight mailing days from the election date, therefore the recommended mailing date for the upcoming presidential election is roughly October 29, 2016."
Though the general presidential election is fairly far off, the presidential primaries are just beginning. The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary just wrapped up, and the rest of the country will follow suit over the next few months.
Primaries and caucuses, the elections used to determine each party's presidential candidate, are held on a state-by-state basis beginning in February and continuing through June. States hold their primaries on one of several dates in this range, so it is important to know when your state is scheduled in order to have your ballot cast in time. If you miss the primary deadline for your state however, it isn't too late to vote in the general presidential election. The one-time registration through FVAP.gov covers all ballots in the election cycle.
In order to register, visit https://www.fvap.gov/military-voter/registration-ballots and follow the instructions provided for your state of residence in the U.S. The process is simple, just fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and mail it to the address provided on the website. Next, just wait to receive your ballot and vote.
Military spouses and eligible family members are also able to cast absentee ballots in all federal elections, and follow the same process as active duty members.
"Voting is important because it is the exercise of one of the rights that we as military families serve to protect and uphold," Dixon said. "It is our way to ensure that our voices are heard and our opinions are represented."
Below is a comprehensive list of the state primaries and dates:
New Hampshire: February 9 (P)
South Carolina: February 20 (P, Republican Primary Only)
South Carolina: February 27 (P, Democratic Primary Only)
Alabama: March 1 (P, S)
Arkansas: March 1 (P, S)
Georgia: March 1 (P)
Massachusetts: March 1 (P)
Oklahoma: March 1 (P)
Tennessee: March 1 (P)
Texas: March 1 (P, S)
Vermont: March 1 (P)
Virginia: March 1 (P)
Louisiana: March 5 (P)
Idaho: March 8 (P, Republican Primary Only)
Michigan: March 8 (P)
Mississippi: March 8 (P, S)
Puerto Rico: March 13 (P, Republican Primary Only)
Florida: March 15 (P)
Illinois: March 15 (P, S)
Missouri: March 15 (P)
North Carolina: March 15 (P, S)
Ohio: March 15 (P, S)
Arizona: March 22 (P)
Wisconsin: April 5 (P)
New York: April 19 (P)
Connecticut: April 26 (P)
Delaware: April 26 (P)
Maryland: April 26 (P, S)
Pennsylvania: April 26 (P, S)
Rhode Island: April 26 (P)
For more information, contact your unit's voting assistance representative or visit www.fvap.gov