Military Voting Procedures

Members of the military are not required to register in order to vote. However, to vote in the traditional sense in the city where you are stationed stateside, you MAY register and vote in local, state, and federal elections on Election Day if you choose to do so. Registering to vote in the place where you are stationed in the U.S., however, will change your domicile.

Here are some things that you should know about voting regulations pertaining to the military.

1. Any service member may vote by mail, which does not require registration. As long as he or she is on active duty, the service member is not REQUIRED to be registered. Submitting a properly completed Federal Post Card Application or FPCA to the County Clerk (of their domicile) at least 30 days before an election gets the member an absentee ballot for each election in that calendar year, but it does not get the voters name onto the permanent voter registration list. It also does not change the domicile. You are eligible to vote early (by mail) with a FPCA if you are qualified to vote in your domicile of origin (the place where you lived before entering active duty) and you are:

A member of the US armed forces or the spouse or a a dependent of a member
A member of the US merchant marines or the spouse or a dependent of a member

2. Voting by mail and using the FPCA does not change the domicile of origin.

3. To establish a new domicile of choice while on active duty, the service member must simultaneously have a physical presence in the place to which he or she wishes to change his or her domicile and the intent to make that place home. But realize that the intent can change when you are stationed somewhere else.

4. Registering to vote in the county where you are stationed establishes a new domicile of choice, places you on the permanent voter list, and allows you to vote in the traditional sense on Election Day or in person for early voting.

5. In extreme circumstances, some military voters are eligible to fax their ballot to the early voting clerk. Many states laws provide for the electronic transmission of a mail ballot by a military voter, his or her spouse or dependents IF the military voter is casting a ballot from an area in which the voter is eligible to receive hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay or a location that has been designated by the President as a combat zone. An electronically transmitted ballot submitted under these circumstances supersedes any other ballot transmitted to the early voting clerk.

6. Even though its not necessary to be registered to vote when you are on active duty, when you leave the military and want to vote in the next election, you must be registered 30 days before the next election.

Federal Postcard Applications may be obtained by eligible voters from voting assistance officers within their branch of service, from a U.S. consulate or embassy, or from the Federal Voting Assistance Program of the Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.20301,

1-800-438-VOTE (8683)