Voting while Underway

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Benjamin Waddell,
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Federal Voting Assistance Program allows Sailors aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to make a difference both at home and while at sea.

“While you are out at sea, underway or in a combat zone, you are able to participate in your state and local elections through absentee voting,” said Senior Chief Legalman Earl R. Brown, Harry S. Truman’s absentee voting program lead.

Service members, eligible family members and overseas citizens can make a difference with absentee voting.

“The program is really about creating awareness and letting Sailors know that their voice can be heard and they can be a part of the change in society,” added Brown.

Brown and his team of Sailors reach out to the various associations throughout the command to let Sailors know when and where to go to fill out an absentee ballot.

“For the presidential election, we set up tables twice a day on the mess decks during meal hours where Sailors can come up and complete an absentee ballot,” said Brown. “We provide notaries and the Sailors can register and fill out a ballot all on one form. They don’t have to worry about mailing them or anything. It’s a one-stop shop.”

Even though more Sailors use the program to vote during the presidential election, Brown feels absentee voting is just as important for state and local elections.

“The Congressional vote is sometimes overshadowed by the presidential election,” said Brown. “But it’s really Congress who writes the laws and makes the budgets. We try to get more and more awareness for Sailors to concentrate on those elections because those are going to affect the Sailor in the long run.”

Along with exercising constitutional rights, voting can help Sailors feel more connected with what’s going on at home.

“I feel like it keeps me in the loop of where I’m from,” said Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Valerie Avila. “And I think that’s important.”

Avila added, “The process was quite easy, and I will definitely participate in an absentee ballot again.”

For more information or to register, visit