First six recipients of Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections (EASE) grants program announced
November 3, 2011 — Arlington, Va. – The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is pleased to announce the first six recipients of the Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections (EASE) grants program. The funding total of $7,000,883.00 is being distributed to these awardees to enable military and overseas voters to utilize electronic systems such as online registration, absentee ballot requests and blank ballot delivery; however, no funding was provided for the electronic transmission of a voted ballot except in instances of mock elections. A total of 134,585 military and overseas voters will be served by the jurisdictions receiving grants. FVAP looks forward to announcing the next awardees in the coming weeks.
El Dorado County, CA will receive $1,831,665. This grant includes El Dorado and twelve other counties in California: Butte, Contra Costa, Fresno, Lassen, Marin, Nevada, Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara and Solano. The system developed will enable military and overseas voters to register to vote online, request absentee ballots online and retrieve and track their ballots online.
King County, WA will receive $816,400. This grant will allow King, Clark, Franklin, Pierce and Yakima counties to utilize electronic systems such as online registration and absentee ballot requests. Voters will also be able to retrieve, mark and track their ballots online.
Maryland will receive $653,719. This grant will enable military and overseas voters from the State of Maryland to register to vote online, request an absentee ballot online, and retrieve and mark ballots online.
Ohio will receive $1,856,000. This grant will help streamline the registration process for military and overseas voters from the State of Ohio. Voters will also be able to retrieve, mark and track their ballots online.
Santa Cruz County, CA will receive a $25,000 grant to develop training materials for staff on internal handling procedures for UOCAVA ballots.
Virginia will receive $1,818,099. This grant will enable UOCAVA voters from the State of Virginia to properly complete registration and absentee ballot application and to retrieve, mark and track their ballots online.
In 2008 the number one failure for military and overseas voters was in ballot transmission (FVAP’s Eighteenth Report to the Congress). Local election officials receiving voted ballots reported they did not count numerous uniformed services and overseas citizen ballots because they were received after the deadline. Greater online access and automation of voter registration and absentee ballot systems could make the UOCAVA voting process easier, more intuitive, and more seamless for UOCAVA voters while maintaining the integrity of the process.
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) Director Bob Carey said, “FVAP continuously researches how to improve these UOCAVA ballot acceptance rates. One way to improve the success rates of voted ballots is to research the technology used by the voters. These grants give the States a chance to test technologies to learn what helps military and overseas voters most.”
Last May, DoD announced the availability of $16,400,000 in federal funding to support research to advance the electronic options for military and overseas citizens when voting absentee. DoD has increased the funding level to $20,600,000. US State, territory, and local governments were eligible to apply for the grants.
The evaluation of applications under the Broad Agency Announcement H98210-BAA-11-0001 for the FVAP Electronic EASE grants program have been completed and award recommendations have been transmitted to the Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA) Grants Officer. Discussions with the recommended grant recipients are ongoing.
If you’d like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process please go to www.FVAP.gov or contact the FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE) or email the program at VOTE@FVAP.GOV and don’t forget to "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter to receive timely election information.