CSG Overseas Voting Initiative
For decades, U.S. military personnel serving abroad, their dependents and overseas citizens have faced a variety of barriers when attempting to vote in U.S. elections. A January 2009 Pew Research Center survey found that 25 states and the District of Columbia did not provide sufficient time for U.S. overseas voters to cast ballots and have their votes counted.
The 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act aims to ensure all U.S. voters overseas have sufficient time to request and receive ballots, and that states allow enough time for the submitted ballots to be counted.Though significant progress has been made since the passage of this landmark legislation, needs for improvements in the overseas voting process remain.
The Council of State Governments, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense through its Federal Voting Assistance Program, launched the Overseas Voting Initiative in 2013 to further promote the rights of uniformed services personnel, their voting-age dependents and overseas civilians to vote in U.S. elections by improving the state elections processes.
Through this initiative, CSG will work closely with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Federal Voting Assistance Program to:
Create, staff and provide technical support to two national advisory groups that will focus on policies and technologies to improve voting for military personnel and overseas citizens.
Develop and conduct widespread dissemination of policies and other resources tailored for specific federal and state policymaking audiences.
Provide in-depth research, review and evaluation of state and local election practices as they relate to the enhancement of election services and access to voters overseas and the development of best practice policy guidelines for state and local election officials.
Deliver ongoing support to the Federal Voting Assistance Program in its collection, analysis and evaluation of election performance indicators and data from grant recipients under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and the development of resources based on lessons learned from state and local election activities.
Create, staff and support other working groups in the project tasked with evaluating and recommending performance metrics and data standards for incorporation into state and local government policy and practice.