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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Sept. 25, 2020

Remember to register to vote or request your absentee ballot for the 2020 election

By MyCG Staff

Under the U.S. Constitution, every U.S. citizen has the right to vote. Every voter must have the opportunity to register and vote whether that is in person or by absentee in any election that they are eligible. To vote in U.S. elections, Coast Guard members and their eligible dependents must be registered in their state of legal residence.

As a federal voting year, all eligible voters are encouraged to vote. If members or their voting-eligible dependents do not expect to be present in their state of legal residence to vote, they may do so by using an absentee ballot. COVID-19 has created a significant demand for absentee voting, so members and their eligible dependents are highly encouraged to request their absentee ballots as far in advance as possible. For members and eligible dependents who reside in their state of legal residence, but are unwilling to vote in-person due to COVID-19, should contact their local election officials.

Eligible voters who wish to register and vote absentee should do so by completing the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Please note that each state has their own deadline to receive of absentee ballot requests and can be up to 21 days prior to the election. 

You can complete the FPCA (SF-76) online at the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website. The website has an automated assistant to help members complete, save, and print the FPCA. The FPCA is postage-paid within the U.S, and members can print a pre-paid envelope template for submission by mail for the Postal Service system, including APO and FPO addresses. Many states and territories allow return of FPCAs by fax. Please keep in mind that each state or territory has specific instructions for completing and submitting to local election offices.

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, FVAP has a limited supply of printed forms and voting material, which is why members are encouraged to visit their website. If you are interested in assisting members at your unit with their voting options and opportunities, please consider becoming a unit voting assistance officer (UVAO). Units are required to have UVAOs. To learn more and how to become registered and trained UVAO with the FVAP, please visit the website.

If you have any questions. Please email the Coast Guard's Service Voting Action Officer.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click the image below to view Master Chief Vanderhaden's message on Facebook. 

Message from Master Chief Vanderhaden

Hi. Master Chief Vanderhaden here. I’m talking with some of my shipmates and we are in Salasaw, Oklahoma and we are talking about voting. As you know it’s not too late to request and register for the 2020 election. The deadline is approaching so don’t delay. Head on over to to request your ballot. With the interest in absentee voting this year, it is more important than ever that you stay Semper Paratus and mail your vote home. So – GET OUT AND VOTE.


  • Voting Materials link
  • How to become a UVAO link.