DoD AWARDS GRANTS FOR STATE & LOCAL MILITARY/OVERSEAS VOTING SYSTEMS
Three new recipients of Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections(EASE) grants program announced
March 7, 2012 - Arlington, Va. - The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is pleased to announce the next three recipients of the Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections (EASE) grants program. The funding total of $3,088,200.00 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 25,904 military and overseas voters will be served by the jurisdictions receiving grants. FVAP looks forward to announcing the next awardees in the coming weeks.
The city of Detroit has received $668,336.00. The city of Detroit received two grants from FVAP. The first is to establish an online system that will allow military and overseas voters to confirm their registration, apply for an absentee ballot, as well as receive and track their ballot. Detroitís second grant is to test the security and usability of mobile applications. In a mock election environment, overseas testers will use the mobile applications to receive, vote, and cast their ballots. Analysis of risks associated with use of a mobile application for the electronic transmission of a voted ballot will be conducted during this mock election.
Oregon has received $500,000.00. Grant funds will be used to develop the capability for military and overseas voters to be able to go online to the MyVote page at oregonvotes.org to download their complete ballot. Military and overseas voters would be able to go to a single website to check/update their registration status, track their ballot, and download and print their appropriate ballot. Military and overseas voters would also be able to access information about the candidates they are entitled to vote for at the same MyVote site.
Oregon will also add tools that will allow all military and overseas voters with accessibility needs to be able to mark their ballot using any accessible tools they have, such as accessible tablets, or other technology platforms.
Wisconsin has received $1,919,864.00. Military and overseas voters from Wisconsin will be able to access their ballot online instantaneously. The immediate online ballot delivery system will be integrated with Wisconsinís existing voter look-up, online registration, and ballot tracking tools to create a more efficient and straightforward voting experience.
In 2008, the number one failure for military and overseas voters was in ballot transmission (FVAPís 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 federal funding to support research to advance the electronic options for military and overseas citizens when voting absentee. US State, territory, and local governments were eligible to apply for the grants. With these grants, the total amount distributed to date is $21,093,288.56. FVAP has identified additional funding beyond the previously identified $20,600,000.
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 #8