With thousands of Mississippi soldiers already deployed or deploying to the Middle East and other areas of the world this year, the Secretary of State’s Office is launching an information campaign on active servicemembers’ voting rights.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) provides citizens who are active members of the U.S. Armed Forces and National Guard, among other individuals and entities, special absentee voting rights when stationed outside of their county of residence.
The Secretary of State’s Office is shipping about 4,000 wallet-sized cards providing UOCAVA information and election deadlines to Ft. Bliss, Texas, and other locations. More than 3,200 Mississippi National Guardsmen and women are currently training and awaiting deployment at Ft. Bliss. The Agency is also sending training packets for officers in charge of distributing election-related information on bases and overseas.
“Our deployed military men and women have to be away from their homes and families while serving overseas and fighting to protect our freedoms. The least we can do for them is make sure they aren’t away from the ballot box,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said.
Under UOCAVA, eligible citizens may fill out a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to simultaneously register to vote for the first time and request an absentee ballot for an upcoming election. State law allows UOCAVA applicants to return the FPCA form via mail, e-mail, or fax. Electronic signatures are permitted.
Circuit Clerks must begin sending absentee ballots for UOCAVA citizens who have requested a ballot on April 21, or at least 45 days before the June 5 Primary Election. The registration deadline for UOCAVA voters is May 26. A new voter’s FPCA form must be received by this date in order for the registration to be effective for Primary Election Day. Ballots cast by mail, e-mail, or fax must be received by 7 p.m. CST on Primary Election Day, June 5.
The FPCA form, ballot, and step-by-step instructions on how to complete both are available on Y’all Vote at www.yallvote.sos.ms.gov.
Other upcoming election deadlines include:
· Saturday, April 21: absentee balloting begins;
· Monday, May 7: voter registration deadline to vote in the June 5 Primary Election for Mississippians other than UOCAVA citizens; and
· Tuesday, June 5: Primary Election Day/party primary candidates only—polling places open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more election information, visit Y’all Vote, www.yallvote.sos.ms.gov, Mississippi’s online voter information center. For more information about UOCAVA or the Federal Voting Assistance Program, visit www.fvap.gov.