2018 Election Data Demonstrates Benefits of 2009 Congressional Reforms

(Alexandria, VA) — The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is pleased to announce the publication of research into how timing of ballot requests and modes of transmission influence ballot return for military and overseas voters.  The amendments to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) passed in 2009, allow military and overseas voters to choose an electronic option for receiving blank absentee ballots and require election offices to transmit ballots no later than the 45th day prior to an election for federal offices.  While FVAP continues to gather 2020 information, 2018 data from the report titled "Data Standardization Helps Assess Congressional Reforms for Military and Overseas Voters" reveals:

  • Ballot return rates are higher among voters who used the Federal Post Card Application rather than a state application to request their ballots.
  • UOCAVA voters are more likely to return the ballot, the later they place their request up to the ballot deadline.
  • Voters who requested their ballot within the 45-day period before the election, were more likely to return their ballot if they received it electronically rather than by mail.
  • Active duty military (ADM) personnel tended to request their ballots earlier, and were more likely to request that their absentee ballot be mailed to them compared to overseas citizens who were more likely to request that their ballot be sent to them electronically.

Since 2015, FVAP has been working with The Council of State Governments'  Overseas Voting Initiative  to develop a standardized format that captures transactional-level data about military and overseas voters in the Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) Section B (ESB) Data Standard.

FVAP is now collecting and analyzing the EAVS Section B (ESB) data for the 2020 General Election, and anticipates releasing these findings as part of its 2020 Report to Congress due this fall.

To review the Executive Summary: click here.

To review the full technical research report: click here.


For more information on FVAP or assistance with the absentee voting process, visit FVAP.gov 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 officer for assistance during any step of the process. Facebook.com/DoDFVAP; Twitter @FVAP