DoD AWARDS RESEARCH GRANTS TO HELP MILITARY AND OVERSEAS VOTERS - Arizona and Maryland Receive Grants for Single Point of Contact

September 23, 2013 ?" Alexandria, Va. - The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is pleased to announce the first two recipients of the Effective Absentee Systems for Elections 2 (EASE 2) research grant program. EASE 2 is the second round of grants from FVAP to States and localities to explore technological improvements for military and overseas citizen voters. The EASE 2 grants fund two research areas:

  1. the development and effect of online blank ballot delivery tools, and
  2. the establishment and effect of a single point of contact in a State election office for the transmission of election materials.

Election officials from States and local jurisdictions were eligible to apply for a grant. Data received from grant recipients will enable FVAP to gauge the effectiveness of grant-funded programs in expanding a voter's ability and opportunity to successfully receive, cast and return an absentee ballot. Using grant funds to develop a system for the electronic return of a marked ballot is strictly prohibited.

The single POC concept originated with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 which included a recommendation from Congress that States establish a single office to send and receive ballot materials to military and overseas voters.  Prior to the EASE 2 research grants program, Alaska provided this service before HAVA, and Maine established a single POC office in 2010. Arizona and Maryland will join those States for the 2014 election and beyond.

Arizona received $367,000. This grant will be used to research both the online blank ballot delivery and single point of contact objectives. The State will implement a statewide online blank ballot delivery program, enabling military and overseas voters to access their ballots online. Arizona will also provide UOCAVA voters a single point of contact (phone number, address, fax number, website and email address) for the facilitation of UOCAVA voting. All Arizona military and overseas voters will be able to contact a single office to request, receive and return election materials.

Maryland received $374,671. The State will establish a single point of contact (phone number, address, fax number, website and email address) at the State Board of Election's Office for the transmission of election materials. Military and overseas voters from Maryland will be able to contact a single office in order to request, receive and return election materials.

The Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the EASE 2 grant program was posted on grants.gov under H98210-13-BAA-0001 on May 10, 2013, and closed on June 25, 2013. There is a total of $10,900,000 available for the EASE 2 research grant program.

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Please do not send comments directly to FVAP. For more information on FVAP or assistance with the absentee voting process, visit FVAP.gov for live chat assistance, call FVAP at 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584 (CONUS)/312-425-1584 (OCONUS), or email vote@fvap.gov. Remember, you also can contact your unit or installation voting assistance officers for assistance during any step of the process.
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PDF version of FVAP News Release #18