FVAP Provides Report to Congress on its Grant Pilot Programs

 

May 10, 2021 – Alexandria, VA – The Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) published its report to Congress on its pilot programs consisting of grants to election jurisdictions. The report outlines the grant pilot program's assistance to state and local election jurisdictions with delivering ballots to military, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens.

 

In 2011 and 2013, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) began multi-year pilot programs that provided grants to state and local election jurisdictions studying ways to meet their requirements under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Of particular interest to this research was the 2009 amendment to UOCAVA requiring blank ballot delivery to voters and the systems used to offer the military, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens an electronic means of receiving their ballots. These grants were authorized under the FVAP program's broad technology pilot program authority that enables research on innovative techniques to support voters eligible to vote under UOCAVA.

 

The "Electronic Absentee System for Elections" (EASE 1) and the "Effective Absentee System for Elections" (EASE 2) grant pilot programs focused on developing and testing innovations to improve voters' ability to obtain ballots in a timely manner, ensuring time to return their voted ballot by the state's deadline. The grant programs accomplished this by providing funding for a variety of pilots in two waves of grants. The report also features qualitative case studies from four participating states. Florida (Okaloosa County), North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are highlighted as they provide an important perspective on grant implementation and contextual factors impacting success. 

 

Key findings of the report include the following: 

 

  • Electronic blank ballot delivery for UOCAVA voters needs to be improved, in particular the usability of electronic blank ballot delivery systems for election officials and UOCAVA

 

  • Future research efforts should provide a more thorough quantitative evaluation of whether the voting innovations studied actually improve UOCAVA voting success rates as part of a more concrete research design.

 

  • The Federal Voting Assistance Program would benefit from future research utilizing the "Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) Section B Data Standard." This standard, which did not exist at the time of the grant programs, focuses on the reporting of UOCAVA voting transactions data through administrative data. This dataset would enable a more complete comparative analysis and assessment of voter success when using new technologies.

 

View the full Review of the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Electronic Absentee System for Elections (EASE 1) and the Effective Absentee System for Elections (EASE 2) Pilot Programs Report to Congress here.

 

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If you'd like more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program or need help with the absentee voting process, please visit FVAP.gov for live chat assistance; call FVAP at 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN at (425) 1584 (CONUS)/(312) 425-1584 (OCONUS); or email vote@fvap.gov. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DoDFVAP and @FVAP on Twitter.