FVAP

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National: Air Force streamlines voting program to help optimize Airmen’s core missions | U.S. Air Force

Air Force officials recently released guidance that streamlines the organizational structure and functions of the Air Force Voting Assistance Program. A November 2017 Air Force guidance memorandum realigned the program under installation Airman and Family Readiness Centers, thereby eliminating voting assistance officers as an additional duty at Air Force units. The move is part of an Air Force-wide effort to reduce Airmen’s additional duties so they can more effectively focus on their core missions.

Full Article: AF streamlines voting program to help optimize Airmen’s core missions > U.S. Air Force > Article Display.

Voting Blogs: FVAP submits 2016 post-election report to Congress | electionlineWeekly

The Federal Voting Assistance Program’s 2016 Post-Election Report to Congress shows that its voting assistance efforts work: FVAP continues to make progress in reducing obstacles to absentee voting for active duty military and has expanded outreach initiatives for voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). “I am proud of the work accomplished by FVAP to support military members, their families, and Americans living abroad throughout the 2016 cycle,” FVAP Director David Beirne said.

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

National: Most eligible expatriates don’t vote in US elections, study finds | Stars & Stripes

A study released Wednesday, described as the first of its kind, has found what political scientists have long suspected: Most American expatriates don’t vote in U.S. elections. The study by the Federal Voting Assistance Program found that voting rates for all estimated 2.6 million eligible overseas voters, excluding servicemembers and their spouses, was 4 percent in 2014. That compares to 36 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. and, according to a previous study by the FVAP, 21 percent of eligible active-duty military voters who mailed in ballots in 2014. “While we can expect to see an increase in the overall voting rates for the 2016 presidential election, we need to understand whether the overall rate for 2014 is due to low awareness of how to vote absentee or if it is related to other factors,” FVAP Director Matt Boehmer said in a news release.

Full Article: Most eligible expatriates don't vote in US elections, study finds - News - Stripes.

National: FVAP simplifies absentee voting | Observation Post

When service members take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America, they also vow to defend freedom and the right to vote. Voting is essential to maintaining our democratic republic and is accessible to service members through voting assistance programs. The Installation Voting Assistance Office and Federal Voting Assistance Program provide Marines, sailors and family members accessibility to vote in upcoming elections.

Full Article: FVAP simplifies absentee voting - Observation Post: News.

National: Lawmakers call for review of voting assistance program | The Hill

Members of the House Oversight Committee are urging a review of the Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance Program for military personnel living overseas. The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) assists military service members abroad and U.S. citizens living in foreign countries with absentee voting. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran, spearheaded the letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking the Government Accountability Office to conduct an investigation about the program’s effectiveness.

Full Article: Lawmakers call for review of voting assistance program | TheHill.

National: Voting form downloads decrease from 2010 | Marine Corps Times

The number of military and overseas voters who have downloaded Federal Post Card Applications from the DoD website is down by more than half compared the 2010 midterm elections, Defense Department officials said. But that’s not necessarily an indication that voter turnout among the military and overseas absentee voter population will be low, officials said. For one thing, the number of troops deployed has decreased, which reduces the number of absentee voters. Other factors are in play as well. In the past, the rate of military voter registration and election participation has been higher than in the general population, noted Matt Boehmer, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program. 

Full Article: Voting form downloads decrease from 2010 | Marine Corps Times | marinecorpstimes.com.

National: DOD slams report that military absentee ballots are down due to DOD error | Washington Examiner

Defense Department spokesman George Little said he takes “strong issue” with the Military Voter Protection Project report showing a major decline in requests for absentee ballots among service members. “The data in that report, we believe, is quite old,” Little told reporters at the Pentagon today. “It’s important to remember that the number of deployed members in the war-zones has declined significantly.”

Full Article: DOD slams report that military absentee ballots are down due to DOD error | WashingtonExaminer.com.

Voting Blogs: New IG Report Sets Off Debate About MOVE Act Implementation | Election Academy

Three years after the enactment of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009, a new report by the Department of Defense’s inspector general found that MOVE’s requirement of installation voting assistance offices (IVAO) on all non-warzone facilities is not being implemented across the globe. More specifically, IG researchers attempted to call every IVAO identified by the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The report says the “results were clear,” with about half of IVAOs unreachable. Those findings have touched off an interesting debate in Washington. One of the IG’s recommendations is to amend MOVE to make IVAOs discretionary, not mandatory.

Full Article: New IG Report Sets Off Debate About MOVE Act Implementation - Election Academy.

Maryland: Online ballot marking for absentee voters approved, but potential for fraud questioned | MarylandReporter.com

Thousands of absentee voters from Maryland will be the first to mark their ballots online this fall, as the attorney general gave the green light to the State Board of Elections Thursday. But at least one advocacy organization said the new online ballot marking program, along with the state’s just started online registration process, is open to voter fraud. The long-awaited formal opinion from the attorney general  gave the elections board the official OK to implement online ballot marking software without having to undergo state or federal certification, which a watchdog group opposed. The five-member board voted unanimously during their monthly meeting to proceed with the new online tool. The ballot marking “wizard” will allow military and overseas voters, also referred to as Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) voters, to mark their absentee ballots online, a step designed to make the final processing of their ballots more efficient, the state board said. After the approval, a voting rights advocate told the board about a possible security vulnerability, one she said that would not only affect the state’s new online voter registration system but could potentially extend to the November elections.

Full Article: Online ballot marking for absentee voters approved, but potential for fraud questioned – MarylandReporter.com.

Voting Blogs: Bob Carey to Leave Federal Voting Assistance Program | Election Academy

On Friday, I got word that Bob Carey, director of the Pentagon’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is leaving in June to join a bipartisan lobbying firm in DC. As Bob’s time at FVAP draws to a close after three years, I want to wish him well – and use the opportunity to talk about the challenges of pushing for change in the field of election administration. Bob came to FVAP in June 2009 after years of working to improve military and overseas voting – first on his own and then in coordination with The Pew Center on the States. Indeed, Bob contributed research to Pew’s groundbreaking January 2009 report No Time To Vote, which highlighted the problems facing Americans around the world and made recommendations that eventually formed the basis for Congress’ enactment of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009.

Full Article: While Daring Greatly: Bob Carey to Leave FVAP - Election Academy.

Voting Blogs: Bob Carey to Leave Federal Voting Assistance Program | Election Academy

On Friday, I got word that Bob Carey, director of the Pentagon’s Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is leaving in June to join a bipartisan lobbying firm in DC. As Bob’s time at FVAP draws to a close after three years, I want to wish him well – and use the opportunity to talk about the challenges of pushing for change in the field of election administration. Bob came to FVAP in June 2009 after years of working to improve military and overseas voting – first on his own and then in coordination with The Pew Center on the States. Indeed, Bob contributed research to Pew’s groundbreaking January 2009 report No Time To Vote, which highlighted the problems facing Americans around the world and made recommendations that eventually formed the basis for Congress’ enactment of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009.

Full Article: While Daring Greatly: Bob Carey to Leave FVAP - Election Academy.

National: Online Voting ‘Premature’ Warns Government Cybersecurity Expert | WBUR

Warnings about the dangers of Internet voting have been growing as the 2012 election nears, and an especially noteworthy one came Thursday from a top cybersecurity official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Bruce McConnell told a group of election officials, academics and advocacy groups meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., that he believes, “it’s premature to deploy Internet voting in real elections at this time.” McConnell said voting systems are vulnerable and, “when you connect them to the Internet that vulnerability increases.” He called security around Internet voting “immature and under-resourced.” McConnell’s comments echo those of a number of computer scientists who say there’s no way to protect votes cast over the Internet from outside manipulation. But right now a growing number of states are allowing overseas and military voters to return their marked ballots by digital fax or email, which experts say raises the same threat. It’s part of a recent push to make voting easier for millions of Americans overseas, who often are prevented from voting because of slow ballot delivery and missed deadlines.

Full Article: Online Voting 'Premature' Warns Government Cybersecurity Expert | WBUR & NPR.

National: Federal voting program’s objective: Make itself obsolete | FederalNewsRadio.com

Making sure such voters can cast ballots in federal elections is the mission of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), a Defense Department office that offers assistance not just to military personnel, but to any U.S. citizen who needs help casting a ballot from overseas. It offers resources, including a wizard on its website that takes a voter through the entire process of registering to vote and casting a ballot in the appropriate jurisdiction. But Robert Carey, FVAP’s director, said his office’s assistance role to state and local governments is just as important. … Carey said 2009 was a watershed year in terms of election law changes designed to improve voter participation among servicemembers and overseas voters. Among other things, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act requires state and local elections officials to mail absentee ballots to servicemembers at least 45 days prior to an election in order to ensure a ballot can make its way to a remote location — and back to elections officials — in time to be counted.

Full Article: Federal voting program's objective: Make itself obsolete - FederalNewsRadio.com.

Voting Blogs: New York gets $2.5 million for technology upgrades for absentee voting | dailygazette.com

New York’s absentee voting system has received almost $2.5 million from the federal government for technological upgrades. Earlier this month, the Federal Voting Assistance Program awarded the state money to ensure a smoother voting process for New York’s 40,000 overseas voters, with the goal of offering better online access to registration tools and absentee ballot systems.

State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said the money would be distributed among all 62 counties on a need basis. Conklin said that some of the money will be spent on improving the process of overseas voters accessing their ballots. He said that currently the local Board of Elections sends out an email when the ballot is ready and the voter can use that email to sign into a website that allows them to print out their ballot and access additional voting information. With this grant, Conklin said this will now be easier for the voter.

Full Article: "New York gets $2.5 million for technology upgrades for absentee voting" by Capital Region Scene.

National: DoD personnel miss out on absentee ballots | FederalNewsRadio.com

A Defense Department report has found more than a quarter of military voters who requested absentee ballots for the 2010 election never got them. DoD is trying to figure out why and what to do about it. The findings cover what was an otherwise upbeat year for military voting statistics: Uniformed voter participation was up 21 percent in 2010, compared with the last midterm election in 2006. And while voter registration rates among the general population tend to experience a noticeable drop-off between presidential election years and midterm cycles, DoD’s figures were relatively stable between 2008 and 2010.

But based on post-election surveys, the number of troops who requested military absentee ballots but never got them increased dramatically. The Pentagon’s Federal Voter Assistance Program (FVAP) estimates 29 percent of active duty military voters — roughly 120,000 troops — never got their ballots. FVAP’s report offers one possible reason for that: 44 percent of local election officials missed the federal deadline, which requires them to send out military absentee ballots at least 45 days prior to election day. 

Full Article: DoD personnel miss out on absentee ballots - FederalNewsRadio.com.

National: FVAP report shows continued trends in military voting Report highlights successes and future challenges | electionlineWeekly

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) recently released its 2010 Post Election Report, which included a wealth of information on the participation of military voters and their spouses. This release follows the recent publication of data and a report on military and overseas voting by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

While the report includes numerous details focusing on the specifics of members of this community, the general trend is clear: members of the military and their spouses are highly engaged in the elections process and continue to register and vote at higher rates than the general electorate.

Unlike the EAC, which simply reports data provided by states as part of the Election Administration and Voting Survey, the FVAP adjusted military participation data to account for the age and gender of the generally younger and male population of uniformed voters. FVAP also surveyed a number of populations to ascertain their level of participation in 2010.

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

Voting Blogs: Crowd-Geeking the New Military Voting Report | Doug Chapin/PEEA

On Tuesday, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) released a report and underlying data assessing the extent of voting by military voters in the 2010 election. The data paints an encouraging but still mixed picture; while participation rates for members of the military (adjusted for age and gender) appear to be strong, there are still areas where the system could improve. For example, 29% of military voters reported that they requested but never received an absentee ballot – up from 16% in 2008. These figures are likely to form the backdrop for continued enforcement and potential expansion of the MOVE Act of 2009, which was designed to improve voting for military and overseas voters.

The FVAP report is so rich with data that I knew there was no way I could dive in alone; that’s why I reached out to my fellow election geeks for their read on the release. Not everyone wanted to speak for the record, so we’ll keep all of these anonymous – but what they had to say was fascinating and helped me (and hopefully you) see the data in different ways.

Full Article: Crowd-Geeking the New Military Voting Report - Program for Excellence in Election Administration.

Voting Blogs: A review of the FVAP UOCAVA workshop | Freedom to Tinker

The US Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is the Department of Defense Agency charged with assisting military and overseas voters with all aspects of voting, including registering to vote, obtaining ballots, and returning ballots. FVAP’s interpretations of Federal law (*) says that they must perform a demonstration of electronic return of marked ballots by overseas military voters (**) in a Federal election at the first Federal election that occurs one year after the adoption of guidelines by the US Election Assistance Commission. Since the EAC hasn’t adopted such guidelines yet (and isn’t expected to for at least another year or two), the clock hasn’t started ticking, so a 2012 demonstration is impossible and a 2014 demonstration looks highly unlikely. Hence, this isn’t a matter of imminent urgency; however, such systems are complex and FVAP is trying to get the ball rolling on what such a system would look like.

As has been discussed previously on this blog, nearly all computer security experts are very concerned about the prospect of marked ballot return over the internet (which we will henceforth refer to as “internet voting”). Issues include vulnerability of client computers, issues with auditability, concerns about usability and coercion, etc. On the flip side, many states and localities are marching full steam ahead on their own internet voting systems, generally ignoring the concerns of computer scientists, and focusing on the perceived greater convenience and hoped-for increased turnout. Many of these systems include email return of marked ballots, which computer scientists generally consider to be even riskier than web-based voting.

Full Article: A review of the FVAP UOCAVA workshop | Freedom to Tinker.

National: Defense Department offers $15 million to improve overseas voting | Stars and Stripes

Defense Department officials late last week announced more than $15 million in grants designed to improve how voter registration forms and absentee ballots are sent to overseas voters, in an effort to solve problems well in advance of the 2012 presidential election.

Bob Carey, director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, said officials don’t have any set plans on how many grants they’ll award or exactly what the final projects will look like. The grants are open to state and local election officials, and the parameters call for using new technologies to decrease the delivery time for registration, ballot requests and changes of address.

Ohio: Ohio bill aims to help military voters | The Columbus Dispatch

When Rep. Mike Dovilla was deployed to Iraq in 2007, he wanted to cast a vote in that years municipal elections.While on leave, he sent in his application to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, and when the Navy veteran returned to Baghdad, he was told he had not provided some necessary information.

“The problem was there was incorrect information on the county’s web site at that time that didn’t specify the need to include those items,” said the Berea Republican. “As a result, by the time the additional correspondence went back and forth from the theater, the ballot didn’t arrive on time. In fact, I never received a ballot at all.”Since that time, I vowed that if I were ever in a position to be able to prevent this from happening to others in military service I would do so.” Dovilla joined Rep. Michael Stinziano, D-Columbus, today in introducing a bill designed to improve access to voting for members of Ohio’s military serving overseas and other overseas voters.

Full Article: Bill aims to help military voters | The Columbus Dispatch.