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For U.S. service members and citizens living overseas, participating in elections back home can be a challenge—requiring requests for ballots in advance of Election Day and allowing sufficient time for their return stateside to be counted. The Council of State Governments’ Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, is working cooperatively with the Federal Voting Assistance Program, a U.S. Department of Defense agency, to develop best practices for state and local election administrators to help make voting an easier, faster and more accurate process for military and other overseas U.S. citizen voters—and the election administrators who serve them. In this FREE CSG eCademy webcast, members of the CSG OVI’s Technology Working Group discuss the group’s efforts to research improvements incorporating technology that can help U.S. election officials facilitate and improve the overseas voting process for their constituents. Presenters also share progress toward the development of the CSG OVI Technology Working Group recommendations, which will be released in December at the CSG 2016 National Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, Va.

While its use dates back before the founding of the United States, the interstate compact mechanism has evolved from a tool to settle land disputes to an agreement between the states that allows policymakers to solve some of America’s most pressing issues. This FREE CSG eCademy offers a tutorial on the interstate compact mechanism and showcases the compact in practical use on issues ranging from healthcare to the criminal justice system and the education of military children.

Competency-based education—also known as proficiency-based, performance-based and mastery-based education—is a personalized, student-centered approach to learning in which students demonstrate mastery of concepts and skills and move toward graduation at their own pace. This FREE CSG eCademy features experts in competency-based education at the K-12 level, and explores the role of state policy in supporting the use of competency-based education.

State officials are closely watching as the U.S. Department of Education releases more information on what the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, changes in accountability system requirements and funding mechanisms. As states grapple with the upcoming changes to federal requirements, it is important to know about the increased flexibility for state and local policymakers. This FREE CSG eCademy webcast explores what the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act means for state leaders, with a focus on accountability systems and data policy.

Public pensions continue to be a topic of great concern to state policymakers across the country. Struggling from years of insufficient contributions, combined with longer-living retiree populations, many states face mounting public pension liabilities. Understanding how your state’s plan compares to others around the country and having access to reliable data about pension plans are both essential  to making evidence-based policy decisions. This FREE CSG eCademy session, presented in partnership with the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, offers background on the state of public pension systems and introduces a free tool which can be used to inform debates about retirement security issues: Public Plans Data.

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