Dear Election Officials,
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) initiated its Electronic Transmission Service (ETS) in the early 1990s to accommodate active duty personnel serving in Desert Storm who needed support faxing balloting materials back to their respective election offices. Since then, FVAP has continued to provide this service to deployed military members -- and all voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
At its inception, the intent of the ETS was to support the return of balloting materials to those jurisdictions that only permit fax transmissions for returned materials (beyond regular mail). During the 2016 election cycle, FVAP received a large number of email requests from voters for transmission to jurisdictions that permit the return of materials via email. In those situations, the voters could have emailed their materials directly to their election office. As such, there is no benefit or purpose for FVAP to be included in a transaction best handled between the voter and election office.
Due to the extremely high volume of ETS email requests in 2016, FVAP will explicitly limit this service to email-to-fax conversion only starting January 1, 2018.
The following changes will be made to the ETS at that time:
- Voters whose States accept materials by email will be instructed to send those materials directly to their election officials via email and not use the ETS;
- FVAP will continue to provide ETS services for voters whose jurisdictions permit fax transmissions only for return of their election materials; and
- Voters attempting to fax materials will be encouraged to fax directly to their election office.
Beginning October 1, 2017, FVAP will decommission its ETS email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and replace it with email@example.com. Voters who email firstname.lastname@example.org will receive an automated response explaining the upcoming changes to FVAP's ETS service, but each transaction will be processed as it has in the past.
Beginning November 1, 2017, (60 days prior to January 1, 2018) FVAP will continue to forward documents received at email@example.com to election offices in States that permit email submission. We will inform voters that beginning in 2018 FVAP will no longer forward materials to election offices in States that permit email submission, and that voters should connect with their election office directly. FVAP will copy the appropriate election office on these emails so that voters can quickly identify the appropriate email address to forward documents and create direct communication between voters and their election office.
Please be sure to audit all of your standard information pieces on your website or contained in your balloting materials to ensure these changes are reflected. You can find the revised ETS Cover Sheet for inclusion in any of your balloting materials or blank ballot delivery systems at www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/TransmissionCoversheet.pdf.
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 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.