Overseas Voting Initiative's Policy Group Releases Recommendations Report

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Overseas Voting Initiative's (OVI) Policy Working Group, a group of State and local election officials from across the United States as well as election administration experts, released on Nov. 1 policy recommendations for improving the voting experience for U.S. military voters and citizens living abroad.

In late 2013, CSG entered into a four-year partnership with the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), to improve the voting process for Service members, their families and citizens living abroad. The creation of the OVI Policy Working Group was one component of that partnership. 

"I am so pleased with the amazing work that has been done in the area of military and overseas voting by the dedicated and brilliant State and local election officials that comprise the Overseas Voting Initiative Policy Working Group," FVAP Director Matt Boehmer said. "This report highlights the group's recommendations for improvement in the UOCAVA voting process and provides real-world examples that will serve as a template for State and local election officials throughout the country to follow. The Policy Working Group's initial charge was to use the Presidential Commission on Election Administration report as a springboard to its own recommendations specific to UOCAVA voting, and they have done just that."

The CSG OVI Policy Working Group was composed of State and local election officials from across the United States, as well as election administration experts. Members shared personal experiences and voter experiences "in order to learn from one another to put forth the most practical policy recommendations possible to help all of our election official colleagues across the nation and our collective military and overseas voters throughout the world," said Lance Gough, executive director of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

Recommendations in the 13-page report include using plain language, creating more user-friendly electronic ballot return envelopes, treating the Federal Post Card Application as a permanent request for voter registration, and establishing a partnership between State and local election officials and local military installations. 

View the Overseas Voting: Strategies for Engaging Every Voter report at http://www.csg.org/ovi/SpecialReport2016.aspx

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Federal Voting Assistance Program
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is a Department of Defense (DoD) organization that works to ensure Service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so - from anywhere in the world.

FVAP assists voters through partnerships with the Military Services, Department of State, Department of Justice, and election officials from 50 States, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. State and local governments administer U.S. elections, including those for federal offices. FVAP supports State and local election officials by providing absentee voting information, materials, training and guidance.

Voters can contact FVAP's call center at 1-800-438-VOTE (8683), DSN 425-1584 or at vote@fvap.gov. Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at FVAP.gov. Find FVAP on Facebook at facebook.com/DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter.