Arlington, Virginia - The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is pleased to announce the publication of groundbreaking research that yields greater insights into congressional reform amendments to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act in 2009. The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act required states to offer the military, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens the opportunity to receive ballot materials electronically and for election officials to transmit balloting materials no later than 45 days prior to each federal election.

The Council of State Governments partnered with FVAP in 2014 to foster the development of a new data reporting standard for election jurisdictions. “This new reporting standard is intended to focus on the individual voter’s experiences and identify drivers for success,” said David Beirne, the FVAP Program Director. “FVAP is committed to customer service and this new data reporting standard provides a rich source of new information to better identify areas of effectiveness and guide future program improvements,” he added.

During the 2016 General Election, the following observations about our military, their family members and overseas citizens validate Congressional reforms quantitatively:

  • More than 65% of all ballot requests were received at least 45 days prior to the election;
  • Voters who received their ballots earlier were slightly more likely to return them;
  • Voters who received their ballots early were less likely to have these ballots rejected; and
  • Voters who received their ballots by mail were more likely to return them than those who received them electronically.

This new data standard focuses on transactional information to identify the specific timing and methods that work best to support the absentee voting rights of these military and overseas citizens. The 2016 data collected and analyzed is based on information provided directly from states and localities. With this initial round of research complete, FVAP intends to expand the collection of these data in 2020 to yield research that provides the greatest level of accuracy.