FVAP Director Bob Carey recently announced a need for the development of more online applications for Uniformed Services and overseas civilian voters. Specifically, FVAP will submit a request for quotes on how vendors could develop two key products: a tool to guide the voter through the UOCAVA registration and absentee ballot request process and another tool to guide them through receiving, marking, printing and sending an absentee ballot.
“Instead of having to reference instructions as to which section of which form to fill out with what specific information, we want to develop online systems that ask intuitive and easy questions of the voter, and then have the online system automatically fill out the form for the voter,” said Carey. The voter would no longer have to navigate State-by-State instructions to fill out absentee voting forms.
Additionally, FVAP will ask vendors how they could develop an online absentee ballot delivery and marking system that would allow voters to seamlessly and intuitively receive online the correct, full absentee ballot for all federal, State, and local elections, and then mark that ballot online as well. “The ballot would still be printed out and sent in by the voter,” Carey said, “but the online transmission and marking would allow the military or overseas voter to receive the ballot much quicker, and to properly fill it out in accordance with specific election jurisdiction rules.”
The ultimate concept of operations would be for FVAP to establish a minimum level of functionality for such online systems, determine the group of vendors capable of providing such a system, and then allow the States to determine the vendor they wish to use. “Maximizing State input into the vendor used is a key element of this proposal, in order to ensure State requirements are best met” assured Carey, “but the level of State authority over such a process is still something to be determined under federal acquisition regulations.”
Whatever is determined to be allowable under federal law, this will not be a “one size fits all” tool says Carey. There will be options for the States to choose from. Also, Carey was absolutely clear that, “this program would not be internet or online voting; it is simply the electronic transmission and online marking of the absentee ballot. The voter would still print out the ballot and send it in like any regular absentee ballot.”
Currently, both the absentee ballot request and write in ballot forms (Federal Post Card Application and Federal Write in Absentee Ballot) are available in hard copy and online in PDF format. The voter is forced to navigate the forms by using State instructions and decipher what is required for the form to be processed successfully.
We want your feedback! If you’d like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process, please contact FVAP at 1-800-438-8683, DSN (312) 425-1584, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at: www.fvap.gov/contact/tollfreephone.html. With your feedback, we can make this even more helpful for the next election.