My Coast Guard

Coast Guardsman selected for Federal Voting Assistance Award

By Lt. Cmdr. Lee Coyle, Coast Guard Federal Voting Assistance Program


As one of our Constitutional rights, and an integral part of our democratic society, voting for our elected officials is a great civic responsibility as well as an American privilege.

Offering assistance to members who may have questions on how to register in their state while stationed in another state, and how to vote absentee, one of the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s goals. To help with this mission, unit Voting Assistance Officers (VAO) are responsible for educating members at their unit of how to register and how to vote. 

Cmdr. Jeff Barnum of Training Center (TRACEN) Yorktown was selected as the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s VAO of the Quarter, as well as the Coast Guard VAO of the Year for 2020! 

Barnum demonstrated exception concern for the 800 permanent party staff and 600 students at TRACEN Yorktown, many of whom were first-time absentee voters in need of a guiding hand. He provided needed guidance despite the additional difficulties associated with COVID-19 restrictions, in part, by creating high quality educational videos.

Well done Cmdr. Barnum!

The CG Voting Assistance Program was established in 1986 in order to provide the Coast Guard family with the tools and resources to vote from anywhere in the world. This is done through collateral duty VAO’s like Commander Barnum. The position of VAO is required for each unit with more than 25 personnel. Want to know more or think this is a collateral duty you’d like to volunteer for? Check out the Coast Guard Voting Assistance Programs site on the portal!