DoD AWARDS GRANTS FOR STATE & LOCAL MILITARY/OVERSEAS VOTING SYSTEMS
Two new recipients of Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections (EASE) grants program announced
January 18, 2012 - Arlington, Va. - The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is pleased to announce the next two recipients of the Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections (EASE) grants program. The funding total of $1,100,345.00 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 28,112 military and overseas voters will be served by the jurisdictions receiving these grants. FVAP looks forward to announcing the next awardees in the coming weeks.
Michigan has received $431,514.00 for software development that will permit election officials in Michigan to electronically create, process, and track ballots for all absentee voters. Michigan will also implement an integrated plan to communicate more effectively with military and overseas voters increasing awareness of Michigan’s voter registration and absentee ballot options.
South Dakota has received $668,831.00. This grant will maximize the ease for overseas citizens and servicemen and women from the States of South Dakota and Nebraska to ensure their ballots are marked and returned to their home polling location on time for inclusion in ballot counting.
In 2008 the number one reason for 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.
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. With these grants, the total amount distributed to date is $18,005,088.56.
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 the www.FVAP.gov web portal or contact the FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE). 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 for election updates throughout 2012.
PDF version of FVAP News Release #3