Kamanzi Kalisa

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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...

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voters between the ages of 18-24 have consistently voted at lower rates than all other age groups since 1964. Consequently, states are enacting statutes allowing for persons under the legal voting age of 18 to pre-register to vote.

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.

Nevada’s military services members, their families and civilians residing overseas were provided the opportunity to have their votes cast in the state’s 2016 caucuses. This is an important development as caucusing historically has been a you-have-to-be-there event. 

On Feb. 1, Iowa voters will gather in select caucus sites to choose their respective national parties’ presidential candidates. However, for the first time in the history of the Iowa Caucus process, active duty members of the military and civilians living abroad will be allowed to participate and cast their vote. The Iowa Caucus has served as the first major electoral event of the U.S. presidential nominating process since 1972. Both the state Republican and Democratic Iowa parties administer their own set of caucuses that are subject to their own set of rules that can change from time to time (e.g., voters in each party's caucus must be registered with that party, voters can change their registration at the caucus location, etc.).

For decades, members of the U.S. military and their dependents experienced problems at every step of the overseas voting process: registering to vote, requesting and receiving absentee ballots, and returning absentee ballots. State and local election administrators face challenges associated with maintaining accurate registration rolls for a highly mobile and transient population, some of whom reside in remote areas of the world. While significant progress has been made, there is still room for states to improve the military and overseas voting process. In this session, key stakeholders shared their experiences and perspectives in working to enhance voting for overseas Americans. They also discussed the need for state-level policy improvements to better enfranchise this important voting population. This session also explained how CSG, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, is helping to improve the U.S. military and overseas voting process through the CSG Overseas Voting Initiative.

For decades, members of the U.S. military and their dependents living abroad experienced problems at every step of the overseas voting process: registering to vote, requesting and receiving absentee ballots, and returning absentee ballots. These voters face unique voting obstacles due to their mobility, the time required to transmit ballots, and the patchwork of rules and regulations required by the 55 sets of election laws of the states and territories. What’s more, state and local election administrators face challenges associated with maintaining accurate registration rolls for a highly mobile and transient population, some of whom reside in remote areas of the world.

With the 2016 primary election approaching, voting procedures are taking center stage again. CSG’s Overseas Voting Initiative recently had its fifth working group meeting in Newport Beach, Calif., and finalized policy recommendations intended to improve voting processes for U.S. military and civilians overseas. Policy group members will present the recommendations at the 2015 CSG National Conference, Dec. 10-13, in Nashville.

Over a decade ago, States began to explore the use of electronic technology in the U.S. military and overseas voting process. This article explores the varying policy solutions and technology platforms administered by Alaska, Arizona and Washington as well as emerging federal requirements affecting U.S. military and overseas voters. 

More voters are registering online, and military and civilian absentee ballot submissions from overseas are on the rise. Those are some of the key findings from a recent report of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, or EAC. As the American electorate turns its focus toward the 2016 presidential election, the EAC, an independent, bipartisan commission that serves as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, released its Election Administration and Voter Survey for the 2014 midterm election. The 2014 survey included figures from the National Voter Registration Act—also known as NVRA or “motor voter”—and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

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