Are you registered?

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
Happy New Year! It's great to see that all of our Team Sheppard personnel made it back safely from the holidays. I hope you're all rested, energized and ready to tackle our mission once again in 2008.

As we start this new year, there is one area I'd like you to add to your resolution list--exercising your Constitutional duty to vote. If you turn on the TV or pick up the newspaper, you'll be reminded (in fact bombarded) with a steady news stream that makes it clear this is a presidential election year. 

Every state in the union will be holding primaries or caucuses . . . in fact Iowa and New Hampshire are already complete and Wyoming's primary process is underway. As citizen Airmen, we need to participate in the political processes that will choose our next president. There are three basic steps we can take to do this.

First, get registered. Like most everything these days, on-line processes have made it really easy for military personnel, and even civilians, to get information on the registration process. All you need to do is go to and you'll find everything you need to know to complete the registration process. Most states' Web sites will guide you through the entire process. So if you're not registered, stop reading this article, click on the above link, and get 'er done. Many of your states have presidential primaries that are right around the corner.

Second, get educated. If you were buying a new car, would you just take a quick look, make a decision, and drive away? I doubt it. And we certainly shouldn't use this approach when picking a president. Do your homework. Watch the debates, visit the candidates' Web sites, get to know where they stand on issues and assess their character. A voter who votes on a whim is not much better than one who doesn't vote at all. Get engaged on this important democratic responsibility.

Finally, vote. Most military folks will do this via absentee ballot. Again, the on-line resources make this very easy. Don't wait until the general election to begin to exercise your Constitutional duty. The primaries will determine who is left to vote for, so play a role in this critical part of the process.

Although it's our duty to vote, uniformed and civilian Airmen are subject to certain restrictions regarding overt political activities as governed by the Hatch Act. If you have any questions on this, please visit our base legal office and they can set you straight. And if you have any questions on the voting/registration process, please get with your Unit Voting Assistance Officer or Ms. Lori Wilson, 82nd Training Group, our Installation Voting Assistance Officer.

Since 9/11, thousands of U.S. servicemen and women have given their lives--paid the ultimate sacrifice--preserving our liberties and securing our democracy from the terrorist threat that would erase them. What better way to honor our fallen comrades than by vigorously participating in the democratic processes that they died defending? Please don't let this opportunity slip by. Make it the first New Year's resolution you fulfill.