Capitol Comments

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.

In an effort to establish and strengthen private-public partnerships addressing election security, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Service (NCATS) team has announced a program allowing federally funded national science laboratories to examine and identify gaps that would help mitigate state election systems being vulnerable to cyber threats.

As states begin preparing their election systems for the upcoming midterm elections, the federal government is offering support and guidance to state and local election officials to better respond to threats similar to those encountered during the 2016 election cycle.

In 2014, the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, FVAP, found that only an estimated 4% of overseas American citizens were participating in voting. David Beirne, Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, says that employers of overseas Americans can help further the FVAP mission in ensuring their overseas employees are made aware of the benefits when utilizing FVAP’s resources to register and request an absentee ballot.

On March 23, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 into law, a federal law that included $380 million in grants to be made available to states. This 2018 HAVA Election Security Fund is the first new appropriations to be dispersed to states since Fiscal Year 2010.

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