Who told you 'You can't vote?'

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Eric Smith
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Installation Voting Assistance Officer
Voting - it is a vital right we in the Armed Forces defend every day.

By exercising your right to vote, you are letting your voice be known and telling your civic leaders that you care what decisions are being made.

As Andrew Lack, CEO of the Bloomberg Media Group, said, "Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote."

For such an important right, there are a lot of myths about voting. Here is the truth behind some of the myths.

Myth #1: Because it is a non-presidential election year, it isn't important to vote.

Fact: During the 2014 election cycle, 33 U.S. Senate seats, 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats, 36 governorships, thousands of state and local offices and various ballot questions and referendums all will be decided. With all these races, it is just as important you make your voice heard.

Myth #2: Your vote doesn't matter or it will not have an impact.

Fact: You should know by now that many elections have been very close. But did you ever realize how close some of those elections have been?

For example, a 2006 election for an Oklahoma State House of Representatives seat was decided by just two votes. Yeah, you read that right.

Another great example is the 1974 New Hampshire Senate race which was also decided by only two votes.

Finally, in the 2000 U.S. presidential election, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush narrowly carried the state of Florida in the Electoral College by just 537 votes. After scrutinizing the ballots in select counties and a U.S. Supreme Court case, Bush's margin of victory later handed him both the election and the presidency.

Myth #3: States all have the same election rules and deadlines for military and overseas voters.

Fact: States have different rules regarding how and when their specific forms must be returned. Visit www.fvap.gov for your state-specific guidelines.

Myth #4: Military spouses and dependents can't use military absentee voting forms.

Fact: Military family members who will be 18 years of age or older by Election Day CAN vote by using the Federal Post Card Application and the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot.

Myth #5:
I can't vote if I'm deployed.

Fact: If you are registered to vote, you can vote. If you don't get your state ballot in time, you can use an absentee ballot found at www.fvap.gov. Remember to submit the form at least 30 days prior to the scheduled election.

Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy. It's what many people have fought and died for over centuries. Do not take such a valued right for granted.

As President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, "The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter." So do not let anything stop you from getting your voice heard.

The following is a list of upcoming elections for primaries and the general election in 2014:
  • July - Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina primary runoffs.
  • August- Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming primaries. South Dakota will also host a primary runoff.
  • September- Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island primaries.
  • November 4 - General election
Visit www.fvap.gov or see your squadron voting officer for assistance.