Overseas Voting Initiative

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, or FVAP, recently released a research note with in-depth analysis on election data collected from the states using a data standard crafted in conjunction with The Council of State Governments’ Overseas Voting Initiative working group. CSG and FVAP originally entered into a cooperative agreement, the Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, in 2013 that led to the current iteration of the agreement running through 2022. The initiative targeted data standardization as a primary focus to assist states in better reporting of military and overseas voters’ ballot transmissions.

Saturday, Dec. 16

10:30 a.m.-Noon

Success Improving Voting for Overseas Citizens

For decades, members of the U.S. military and their dependents have faced obstacles at every step of the overseas voting process: registering to vote, requesting and receiving absentee ballots, and returning absentee ballots. Over the last four years, The CSG’s Overseas Voting Initiative orchestrated three advisory working groups comprised of State and local election administrators to...

The voting rights of the millions of U.S. citizens living overseas, as well as Service members and their eligible family, are protected by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).  About 75 percent of the 1.3 million service members, 700,000 family members, and an estimated 2.6 million U.S. citizens residing abroad are eligible to vote absentee through the UOCAVA process.

The Federal Post Card Application, or FPCA, and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, or FWAB, make the voting process easier for...

On Jan. 18, the Virginia Senate introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 1490 to the Committee on Privileges and Elections calling for a pilot program that would allow the use of Common Access Card, or CAC, digital signatures on election materials. The proposed pilot program was adapted from a recent report from CSG’s Overseas Initiative, Recommendations from The CSG Overseas Voting Initiative Technology Working Group, released in early December 2016.

CSG’s Military Ballot Tracking Pilot Program deployed a robust tracking system of both blank and voted ballots (around 3,500 ballots) throughout the mail flow, including blank ballots navigating through the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Military Postal Service during the 2016 November General Election. California, Colorado, Texas, and Florida are the four states participating in the pilot program that involves coordination with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), the U.S. Postal Service, and...

On September 21 the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), a Department of Defense organization tasked with ensuring that service members and overseas citizens are given the tools and resources necessary to vote, released the findings of the first-ever representative survey of overseas voters who requested an absentee ballot. FVAP will use their analysis of this information to better reach and provide information to overseas voters.

September 24, 2016 is the federally mandated deadline for all states to send out validly requested absentee ballots to Service members, their eligible family members and overseas U.S. citizens for the November 2016 General Election.

The American public expects customer service in their everyday activities and voters are no exception. The election community has an opportunity to improve the absentee voting process for military and overseas citizens by communicating to them at each stage of progression toward a counted ballot. Adopting this practice can help empower a set of voters who may otherwise have serious doubts about their votes being counted.

Members of The Council of State Governments’ Overseas Voting Initiative Technology Working Group discussed technology that could help U.S. military and overseas citizens in the voting process during a recent CSG eCademy webcast.

CSG Midwest
Under a new law that received unanimous approval in the state Legislature, Iowa is making it easier for members of the military and other overseas residents to vote. HF 2147 gives overseas voters an extra 30 days to request and return special absentee ballots. (The period of time was extended from 90 days to 120.) Statutory language also was changed to prevent overseas ballots from being rejected by county auditors.

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