MOODY AIR FORCE BASE -- With 4,000 active military duty at Moody Air Force Base, it's taken a team of voting representatives to prepare the enlisted force for this year's election.
Those 150 voting representatives at Moody have been working since March under the Voting Assistance Program, the Department of Defense's nationwide effort to register military to vote.
With the ongoing war on terror, Maj. Deirdre Kokora said it's important that those who are fighting are involved in selecting the commander in chief.
"We like to make sure everybody is registered," said Kokora, deputy staff judge advocate. "It's important they have a say in the program."
Deborah Cox, supervisor of elections, said Lowndes County sent 352 absentee ballots to active duty military as of Oct. 18. Cox added that the military absentee ballot turnout is higher than its ever been.
"We've had almost a 300 percent increase," Cox said.
As of Friday, 1,322 military and absentee ballots had been cast.
To inform military personnel about voter registration, voting representatives at Moody are required to make 100 percent contact with personnel. This means representatives have been visiting with squadrons at the base to hand out registration information, rather than through e-mail.
"I think more people are getting the message, at least from my perspective," Kokora said. "Without the program people would still be able to get out and vote, they're just required to have all the forms."
Lt. Dawn Fitzgerald, a voting representative for the 347th operation support squadron, said representatives meet with each other weekly or each time new information is released in the Voting Assistance Program.
Fitzgerald said airmen were concerned that their vote wouldn't count, but as representatives have met with them they've had a different outlook.
"There's been a lot of enthusiasm especially with those who come right from high school and may not understand how the voting process works," Fitzgerald said. "Everybody is really passionate about what they believe in and having a voice."
Besides the Voting Assistance Program, Kokora said the War on Terror has heightened the military's awareness about elections.
"It raises people's radar to make sure they're heard," Kokora said. "But I don't think people are voting just because of the situation in Iraq, people are concerned about the economy, health care ... just as much as Iraq."
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