PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Voting, in its simplest form, is heading to the local polling location, entering a booth and submitting a ballot.
However, in retrospect, voting leaves a much larger impact than just entering a booth and checking a box. Voting, in its truest form, is choosing the individual who you believe will lead you and your peers in a positive direction.
Despite the amount of importance voting holds in society, according to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, voting rates among service members dropped from 58-percent in 2012 to 46-percent in 2016.
The drop in voting among military members was alarming to some here at Patrick because military pay, benefits and lives in general are directly impacted by decisions from local and national elected officials.
"It's very easy to complain, but how can you make a difference if you don't have a real voice?” said Itzel Delzingaro, wife of CMSgt. Dan Delzingaro, superintendent of the 45th Mission Support Group. “With voting, we have that voice. Voting is putting your voice out there to make your thoughts, opinions and wants for the well-being of your family and country, effective."
Voting, whether that be in local or national elections, plays a direct hand in the future of our country. This raises the question – why don’t more men and women in uniform vote?
According to the 45th Space Wing Voter’s Assistance Office, one theory is the illusion of voting as a service member is more difficult than that of a civilian.
“There are many misconceptions about voting and how difficult it can be for service members,” said Larry Fulk, voting officer, 45th Space Wing Voters Assistance office. “Not only is the FVAP.gov website a user-friendly site and great source for all your voting questions, but our office on base is also open to be of any extra help anyone may need.”
The FVAP website offers a four-step process to help uniformed individuals submit an absentee ballot for those not able to physically be at their respective polls.
- The first step is to register to vote and request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and send it to the election office in your state of legal residence.
- Next, the election office approves your FPCA, disapproves it, or requests additional information.
- Once the FPCA is approved, the election office will send an absentee ballot to you.
- The final step is to complete the ballot and return it to the election office by your state’s deadline.
“The FVAP works to ensure service members, eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so from anywhere in the world,” said Fulk.
The Patrick AFB installation voting office can help Airmen register to vote, request absentee ballots and notify the voter’s respective election official back home of a change of address. They can also help you fill in and mail your voting materials if you’d like the assistance, added Fulk.
“Voting is the heart and soul of democracy,” said CMSgt. Delzingaro. “I have served honorably every day for the past 26 years to guarantee and secure our nation's right to vote. There are many people who die for the chance to vote – I urge my fellow wingmen to not squander this privilege."
For more information, visit the FVAP website or the Patrick Air Force Base website and go to “Voting Assistance” under the “Helpful Links” tab. You can also visit the office on base in the Airman & Family Readiness Center, or reach our voter assistance professionals at (321) 494-3921.