overseas voters

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National: What a lost Florida ballot says about how difficult it is for U.S. citizens abroad to vote | The Washington Post

With time officially running out Thursday at 8 p.m., Florida counties are in the midst of a dramatic recount to determine the winners in three statewide races. One week after the midterm elections, the outcome of several key votes is still unclear, which has triggered comparisons with the 2000 recount of Florida votes during the presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. It’s likely that the uncertainty may drag on even longer than first estimated, as several counties have asked for extensions. Ballots mailed from abroad are being counted until Friday. But Amalee McCoy’s won’t be among them. The 42-year-old U.S. citizen who has lived abroad for almost three decades sent in her ballot from Thailand on Oct. 17, using registered mail. “We kept a copy of the tracking number as I was concerned about reports of voter suppression during early voting already happening in the news,” said McCoy, who lives in Bangkok but votes in Osceola County, Fla. In previous years, voting from abroad posed few challenges, she said. But this year, things went differently. Read More

Pennsylvania: Voters reported being blocked from State election site — and from obtaining absentee ballots — as early as 2016 | Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania election officials say they first learned last week that their new security measures blocking foreign access to state election sites were preventing voters abroad from accessing their absentee ballots. But voters living outside the country told the Inquirer and Daily News they had trouble much earlier. “Definitely I can tell you from my own experience, this happened in the May primary,” said Portia Kamons, 56, who lived in Southwestern Pennsylvania before moving to the United Kingdom nearly three decades ago. Kamons said she contacted the Pennsylvania Department of State and other officials to report the problem. When the state sent emails a few weeks ago directing voters to the same site — which remains blocked — Kamons said she was “hopping mad” that nothing had been done. Other users also reported being blocked from seeing election results in January and March on the state site and prevented from opening the voter registration page in October 2016. Read More

National: Overseas Voters Having Trouble Getting Ballots As States Try To Thwart Hacking | HuffPost

Thousands of U.S. voters living overseas have encountered difficulties requesting absentee ballots because of state restrictions on internet traffic as part of efforts to secure their election systems, according to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Federal law requires states to provide eligible U.S. voters based in foreign countries with a chance to get an absentee ballot. But some of these voters are having problems accessing official election websites to get information and, in some cases, download ballots, the Inquirer reported. The snags are occurring because of the steps taken by states to restrict traffic from foreign countries or entities to prevent potential interference with the election process, including the vote count. The Inquirer identified five states where voters were unable to load websites this week: Georgia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Vermont. Wanda Murren, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Department of State, said her office first learned of the download problems experienced by overseas voters were on Sept. 25. Three days later, she said, the federal agency that helps overseas voters ― including military families ― cast ballots informed the office the problem was more widespread than previously believed. Read More

Pennsylvania: ‘They are actually suppressing votes’: voters abroad are blocked from state election website | Philadelphia Inquirer

Thousands of registered Pennsylvania voters who live outside the United States are being blocked from accessing absentee ballots on the state’s website in a move intended to beef up election security. Several other states, including New Mexico, Tennessee, Georgia, and Vermont, also appear to be blocking foreign access to their election sites. “This should be a red flashing light issue in the state of Pennsylvania right now. They need to solve it — today,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and CEO of the nonprofit U.S. Vote Foundation. “Because they are actually suppressing votes if this is how it is right now.” Under UOCAVA, an acronym for the law enshrining their voting rights and procedures, military and overseas civilian voters are supposed to be able to request an absentee ballot and have it sent to them to fill out and return. In Pennsylvania, voters can request absentee ballots by mail or as a download link by email. Read More

Sweden: Sweden counts overseas votes in dead-heat election | The Local

The two blocs are almost neck and neck as the counting of overseas votes starts in Sweden.
It is not yet known how many votes – Swedes abroad and some domestic votes that haven’t yet been registered – are left to count, but in the last two election they have been around 200,000. The preliminary election result is so tight that only two seats – or almost 30,000 votes of those that have been counted – currently put the left-wing bloc ahead of the four-party Alliance opposition. But based on past elections it is not likely that the late votes will change the number of seats won by either bloc, however it could change the seat allocation within the blocs, writes the TT newswire. Read More

Georgia: Voting Plan Has Drawn New Criticism, This Time Over How It’s Dealing With Voters Overseas | Buzzfeed

The state of Georgia has blocked all foreign internet traffic to its online voter registration site, BuzzFeed News has learned, a move that would do little to deter hackers but blocks absentee voters. The site, registertovote.sos.ga.gov, is accessible only to US IP addresses. The decision has outraged technologists and voting groups. In theory, it’s meant as a security measure, based on the idea that a person visiting the site is more likely to be a foreign hacker. But in practice, it has the opposite effect: Georgians abroad who don’t know how to reroute their internet traffic with tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) or Tor will be prevented from registering to vote. “This won’t really do anything to dissuade a hacker. It will only turn away real voters,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president of the US Vote Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Americans vote abroad. “A hacker, or even a determined voter, will just get onto a VPN and to a US IP address, and guess what? They’re in.” Read More

Indonesia: Indonesians abroad return to vote, but only if it’s not too far | The Jakarta Post

Risyad Tri Setiaputra, 27, is registered as a Jakarta resident. Currently residing in Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, he has kept a close eye on every development in the heated Jakarta gubernatorial race through the internet. For Risyad, casting his vote in the Feb. 15 election is important because it will determine the future of the Indonesian capital. “Jakarta is developing now. It would be a pity if the ongoing development faced challenges because of the election result,” Risyad told The Jakarta Post via instant messaging service on Saturday. Going home only to vote, however, is certainly not an option for him. Risyad is originally from Kalimalang, East Jakarta, thousands of kilometers away from the biggest city in Scotland where he has been pursuing his master’s degree. Risyad said he would stay in Glasgow until he finished his course in October. Read More

Editorials: Time for Act II of the MOVE Act | Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat/U.S. Vote Foundation

Rarely does the first iteration of a law translate legislative intent into implementation flawlessly and durably. The legislative process allows us to correct, improve or update laws as needed in our changing times. It’s an ongoing process, and one we should embrace! A new round of legislative reform is needed to ensure that the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and its progeny continue to play a vital role. In 2009, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) was passed as a much-needed, bipartisan reform to UOCAVA; and it has served as a mechanism to modernize key aspects of UOCAVA. The MOVE Act’s creation was informed by years of research, including work by U.S. Vote Foundation’s (US Vote) Overseas Vote initiative (formerly Overseas Vote Foundation), and it has been demonstrably successful in accelerating the transition to online methods for most overseas and military voting processes across all states. Read More

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. Read More

Greece: Government backs lower voting age but doesn’t offer expats vote | EurActiv

The Greek parliament last month (21 July) approved by a simple majority government’s proposed changes to the electoral system, with 179 votes in favor, 86 against, and 16 lawmakers abstaining. Among other provisions, Greek lawmakers decided to lower the voting age, allowing 17-year-olds to vote in the next general elections. According to the new electoral law, about 130,000 17-year-olds are expected to participate in the next national election. For the Syriza-led government, this move will enforce youth participation. But the opposition parties do not share such a view and believe that Greek premier Alexis Tsipras is trying to “cheat” young people. But the coalition government rejected the opposition’s proposal to grant voting rights for Greeks living abroad. Read More