Servicemembers get ballots free via express mail

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- November's general election is less than 90 days away. The Federal Voting Assistance Program opened its 24 hour a day, 7 day a week call center. The call center makes voting information accessible to voters living in other time zones and ensures that all issues are addressed.

Voters can call 1-800-438-VOTE, e-mail vote@fvap.gov or choose the online chat option at www.fvap.gov to accommodate an easy flow of absentee voting assistance and information. Toll-free numbers from 67 countries to reach the call center are available at www.fvap.gov.

Additionally, effective Sept. 1, customers can mail their absentee ballots back to the United States for "free" using express mail military service.

The Department of Defense in collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service offers this expedited, free service to ensure ballots from American citizens stationed or living overseas arrive in time for their vote to count, said Yvonne Radloff, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Postal Operations postal training manager.

To receive this free service, customers must present their absentee ballots at a post office finance window; the same customer finance windows used to mail packages and buy stamps, said Radloff.

Finance window clerks will give customers a copy of the express mail label. The express mail label includes a tracking number customers can use to track the status of their ballots on the USPS Web site at www.usps.com.

This customer service initiative is only available to citizens who are "casting" their vote by absentee ballot and can't be used for other voting material mailings. All American citizens overseas, regardless of their status, are authorized to use this free service and the Military Postal System to mail their absentee ballots at any military post office, said Radloff.

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