A voting workshop took place at the Pope Family Readiness Group Center on March 5. The Federal Voting Assistance Program conducts congressionally mandated Voting Assistance Officer training workshops.
Although primarily for VAOs, any persons from any branch of services can attend the sessions. There were two sessions available 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m.
The workshop provided information about the absentee registration and voting process for Service members and their Families. It also provides other resources critical to preparing VAOs effectively in order to perform their duties in guiding Uniformed and Overseas Citizens in reference to the Absentee Voting Act.
During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments in interactive training sessions. .
Chief of staff, XVIII Airborne Corps, Brigadier General Xavier Brunson commenced the workshop by speaking to Soldiers about why voting is important.
“I know that my father was raised in S.C. and I know the struggles that he went through as a young man. Not only to get to the polls but also to feel like his votes counted. A lot of our young men and women serving all over the world ensuring voting rights for other nations, but then they come back home and they do not vote here,” stated Brunson.
When asked why he attended the voting workshop Brunson explained, “My coming here today is to make sure they exercise every right that they have as citizens of the U.S.”
“So you look at those young men and women, look at the right sleeves they have a lot of combat patches in there. So they have been to Afghanistan and made sure they had their primary elections but they come home and don’t exercise their rights,” he added.
VAOs are critical to the success of voting assistance programs. In fact, the knowledge and effectiveness of a VAO, combined with a comprehensive voting assistance plan, may very well determine whether a citizen understands how and when to participate in the election process. The VAO training workshop is designed to answer questions and make it easier for VAOs to help individuals follow the proper absentee ballot procedures.