Army, state work to get soldiers voting



Members of the military overseas requested more than 1,000 ballots for Geor­gia’s March 1 presidential primary, and state and Army officials are hoping for another good turnout in next month’s primary and this fall’s elections.

A day after last month’s presidential polling, representatives from the Georgia secretary of state’s office and the Army’s Voting Assistance Office held a forum at Fort Gordon.

The deadline to register for the May 24 primary is Tuesday. Doing it is as simple as using the GA Votes smartphone app.

Once registered, soldiers can print an absentee ballot from the secretary of state website’s My Voter Page. It must be returned in person or mailed in, but it can be tracked through the app to make sure it arrives.

“It gives our deployed soldiers peace of mind to be able to verify whether their votes were counted using the GA Votes smartphone app,” Sec­re­tary of State Brian Kemp said.

Kemp’s office has its own military liaison in Ryan Anglin, an Army veteran who served in Iraq during its first internationally sanctioned fair election.

“The whole voting process is so pivotal, and many who have gone before us have died to preserve that right for Americans,” Ang­lin told the Fort Gordon Globe.

Kemp has also recruited 322 veterans to serve as poll workers, recognized by a special pin they wear.

Technology and recent legislation make it easier for those in the military. Even the date of the upcoming Georgia primary was ordered changed by a federal judge to ensure that overseas military ballots could arrive in time to be counted.

There is a team of people at every Fort Gordon unit offering help, coordinated by Kenneth Stockton, the installation’ voting assistance officer.

The March 2 workshop was to update team members on resources for helping soldiers get their ballots counted in Georgia or wherever their home states are.

Fort Gordon’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, told the workshop attendees that the voting assistance team
isn’t to be political, only helpful.

“What we want is not advocacy for a particular platform or a particular party,” Fogarty said. “We want advocacy to get our soldiers access so if they decide, they have the option to participate in the process. They have an opportunity to make their political voice heard.”