In 2011 and again in 2013, FVAP offered research grants to states and localities to research improving services provided to military and overseas voters. The Electronic Absentee System for Elections (EASE 1) grant program in 2011 funded programs including online blank ballot delivery, online voter registration, online ballot requests, automated ballot duplication, and online ballot tracking. The Effective Absentee System for Elections (EASE 2) program in 2013 was more focused, providing funding for the development of online ballot delivery tools and the establishment of a single point of contact in state election offices. The resulting data from the grant programs will help to identify and improve the true nature of the entire voting experience for military and overseas voters.
Please note the electronic transmission of voted ballots is not funded through these grant programs.
States and localities are well suited to test different tools and systems to better understand and overcome the obstacles faced by military and overseas voters. Under the authority of section 6304 of title 31, U.S.C., FVAP established the EASE research grant program under legislative direction to conduct one or more pilot projects to test the feasibility of new election technology for the benefit of UOCAVA voters. We are able to test a wider range of election technologies more quickly and examine a greater number of solutions through research grants to states and localities than we could through DoD-administered research initiatives.
In 2011 and 2012, FVAP awarded a total of $25.4 million to 35 states and localities to research technological improvements for military and overseas voters through our first competitive grant program. The EASE research grant program includes tools for online ballot delivery, online voter registration, automated ballot duplication, online ballot requests, and online ballot tracking. The goal of the research grant program is to evaluate the effect that innovative technologies have on the ballot return rate for military and overseas voters.
In 2013, FVAP awarded a total of $10.5 million to 11 states and localities to explore technological improvements for military and overseas voters through our second research grant program. The EASE 2 research grant program focuses on two specific areas: online ballot delivery tools and single point of contact for the transmission of election materials in state election offices. These research areas will study the effect of centralizing the responsibility of sending and receiving election materials to and from military and overseas voters as well as further evaluate the effect of blank ballot delivery on the voter success rate.