By Emily Janelle Beetler | Photo by Senior Airman Trevor Gordnier
Married Service members vote at higher rates than singles. I know that happens because of military spouses like me — and you.
We play nearly every influential role. We’re their best friends, trusted allies, partners in parenting, and more. During a PCS or deployment, they look to us to lead at home, trusting that through the chaos, we’ll keep them connected to the things they care about. That includes voting.
Military members and their families can vote absentee from anywhere. And thanks to the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), the process is pretty easy. But I know it’s just as easy for my husband to miss a deadline or forget where to find the right form. That’s where I come in. The steps I take before an election often determine if he will have his voice heard. I don’t take that lightly. With the General Election approaching on November 3, it’s time to kick into gear.
Here are the three things I’ll be telling my spouse to help him vote — from wherever he is.
“You can vote absentee in two steps.” I make sure my husband knows that he can register and request that his ballot be sent to him by filling out one form: the Federal Post Card Application, or FPCA. Once the ballot arrives, he’ll vote and send it to his election office. FVAP.gov keeps it simple. There, he can fill out the FPCA, find out where to send his ballot, and get any other details he needs.
“The deadline’s coming up quick.” Filling out one form and sending in a ballot isn’t too big a task for my husband. The thing that trips him up is remembering to do these things by the deadlines. It helps that the state-specific deadlines are easy to find on FVAP.gov, but they’re also easy for him to forget as he juggles other priorities. I’ve become a master of sending those reminder texts, emails and DMs to make sure he doesn’t miss out.
To vote in the General Election on November 3, Service members need to send an FPCA to their election office by August 1. The deadlines for sending in voted ballots differ by state; you can find those at FVAP.gov. I set up calendar reminders a week before so I have time to send both a “coming soon” and a “do this now” nudge.
“Everybody’s doing it!” Everybody needs motivation — even Service members who seem to have “get it done” as their middle names. A powerful way I help my husband take action to vote is by reminding him that I’m doing the same — and so are our neighbors and friends. I’ll text him saying I just submitted my FPCA, or tweet a pic showing the neighbor and I after mailing off our ballots. That reminds him that it’s doable — and that the people he cares about are doing it, too.
As election day approaches, I’ll continue to take pride in playing this special role for my husband, and I know a lot of my friends feel the same way. It’s just one of the ways we look out for those we love as they’re looking out for our country.
Get all the tips and reminders you need to help your spouse vote absentee at FVAP.gov.