Continuity of your program is important for you, your assistant, your organization, and your successor. Create and maintain a Continuity Folder in accordance with Department of Defense guidance for your reference and to ensure your successor understands what needs to be done. It should provide basic details on the absentee voting procedures and a quick orientation of Voting Assistance Officer (VAO) responsibilities. It can be in the form of a notebook, file folder, or an online community folder.
Voting Assistance Officer Continuity Folder
Below is a list of items your continuity folder should contain. Please note Installation Voting Assistance Officers (IVAOs) have additional items that must be included (see below).
Current Voting Assistance Guide (the Guide)
The Guide is a reference guide for absentee voting regulations, laws, deadlines, and procedures across all 55 states and U.S. territories. It is the primary source of information for citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) regarding procedures for registering to vote, requesting a ballot, and voting in a specific state or territory of legal residence. The Guide is regularly updated to accommodate state changes. A list of changes (errata sheet) is available to highlight changes since the most recent printed version was published.
Absentee Voting Forms (FPCA, FWAB)
The Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), and the Fax Transmission Cover Sheet are available for download here. Quick reference tools: The Federal Post Card Application - FPCA and The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot - FWAB.
VAO Designation Letter
You must have a designation letter in your continuity folder stating that you are the VAO and the name of the unit you are serving as VAO for; this letter is issued by your Commanding Officer.
The Election Dates calendar shows when each primary election will be held and what federal offices are on the ballot. Calendars are produced for even numbered years.
Absentee Voting Brochure
A quick reference brochure for members of your unit and new VAOs.
Good Ideas and Lessons Learned
Services submit good ideas and lessons learned with their biannual After Action Reports. The Navy has created a Voting Toolkit that is a digital collection of items that VAOs can use to be successful. You can download the toolkit below:
- Navy Voting Toolkit (130MB Zip File)
Voter Alerts are focused, timely, and relevant emails that keep Voting Assistance Officers and voters informed about election dates, important deadlines throughout the absentee voting process, changes to state laws that affect how voters may request and cast their ballots, and other crucial absentee voting information. To receive these Voter Alerts, click here.
Information on Your Voter Activities
Everyone needs to receive yearly instruction and have access to absentee voting activities. These activities can include training sessions, registration drives, distributing absentee voting materials, and providing support to citizens with absentee voting questions. Make sure you include your contact information in your displayed informational voting posters, outreach materials, and election calendars.
VAO Training Certificate
VAO training is required during even-numbered years. More information on in-person training and online training can be found here. Once you complete the training, a certificate will be awarded. This certificate must be kept in your continuity folder
Service Voting Action Officer Contact Information
Each Military Service and the Department of State has assigned a Service Voting Action Officer who is the voting program manager for that Service or Department.
Directives and Guidance
Keep Service specific voting directives and guidance to help with the execution of your duties.
Measures of Performance
Keep metrics based on your Service specific guidance. Do not collect PII.
Installation Voting Assistance Officer Continuity Folder
In addition to the list above, IVAOs also need to include the following items:
Contact information for the Installation Voter Assistance Office and all personnel should be included to ensure coverage of the office during normal hours of operation.
Installation Voter Assistance Office Handbook
The Handbook contains extensive information on the establishment and operation of the Installation Voter Assistance Office, as well as direction and tools on assisting applicants and voters. The Handbook can be downloaded here.