Federal Voting Assistance Program’s 2017 Report to Congress

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) released this week their federally mandated 2017 Annual Report to the President and Congress. FVAP is a voter assistance and education agency established by the United States Department of Defense in accordance with federal law to ensure that members of the U.S. armed forces, their eligible family members, and U.S. citizens overseas are aware of their right to vote and have the tools to do so from anywhere in the world.

Although 2017 did not entail as many high-profile elections as in 2016, FVAP “worked continuously to ensure voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act were armed with the information and assistance needed to successfully participate in special elections.” Assistance resources were also allocated for preparing for the 2018 midterm elections. FVAP continued to work to reduce obstacles by increasing voter awareness and in efforts to combat contemporary cybersecurity and other elections threats, FVAP worked with the Department of Defense to refine its research approach and determine what challenges are still in play.

Significant accomplishments in 2017, as listed on FVAP.gov, include:

·         Improved key absentee voting forms;

·         Updated the Voting Assistance Guide;

·         Enhanced FVAP.gov website and Portal for greater usability;

·         Revamped training for Voting Assistance Officers and election officials;

·         Developed a standardized dataset to improve UOCAVA studies:

·         Conducted additional analyses on 2016 post-election data; and,

·         Initiated a survey of overseas citizens to learn their 2016 voting experiences.

FVAP’s 2017 Annual Report can be further reviewed at: https://www.fvap.gov/ The report provides greater detail on 2017 initiatives as well as 2018 election cycle efforts.

CSG’s Overseas Voting Initiative was launched in 2013 through a cooperative agreement with FVAP to improve the return rate of overseas absentee ballots from service members and U.S. citizens abroad. Additional information about CSG’s Overseas Voting Initiative can be accessed here: www.csg.org/ovi