Whether overseas or deployed, Nevadans can vote in this year’s general election.
That’s a message Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske takes seriously. So seriously, in fact, she recently visited Fort Bliss, Texas, to see about 120 soldiers of the 485th Military Police Company before they deployed to the Middle East.
“I told the troops that this was a bucket wish list I never thought in a million years would happen,” Cegavske said of her chance to see the troops before their departure. “We wanted to make sure that everybody going to a different state or country knows their vote counts, and we wanted to explain it to the 485th and pass the word along. It was very important to see them face-to-face and let them know we care about them and appreciate their service to our state.”
The program, Effective Absentee System for Elections, or EASE, allows Nevada residents serving overseas or residing outside the county to complete their voter registration, receive a ballot and mark the ballot online. Under the program, it’s not necessary to request an absentee ballot from a local election official or put anything in the mail. Everything is packaged by the system into one digital document voters then email to their local election official.
Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state for elections, first heard about the 485th’s deployment last August after a local TV station covered the unit’s mobilization ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Stead.
He contacted the Nevada National Guard’s public affairs office that day and set up a visit to the 485th’s mobilization station during the last week of September to explain EASE to the troops. The 485th left the following week and arrived in the Middle East on Oct. 4.
“Secretary Cegavske’s visit really displayed her dedication and the dedication of her staff to soldiers and the Nevada National Guard,” said Capt. Mark Goulart, 485th commander. “Democracy is at the heart of why we do what we do and programs like this help our soldiers participate in that process, even when deployed.”