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electionlineWeekly — April 12, 2018

Table of Contents

I. In Focus This Week

FVAP release its 2017 Annual Report
Report provides assessment of 2017 efforts and plans for 2018

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) has released its 2017 Annual Report to the President and Congress.

The report provides an assessment of FVAP’s activities supporting the special elections for federal office in 2017 -- and FVAP’s preparations for the 2018 election cycle.

"Much of FVAP's 2017 activities represent an examination of the 2017 election cycle, and how we're enhancing our products and services for 2018,” said David Beirne, director of FVAP. “We take tremendous pride in hearing stories about how election officials leverage our online tools, training resources, policy support, and marketing materials to help our military and overseas citizens while saving their own valuable resources."

Using lessons learned since the 2016 election cycle, FVAP further explored how to reduce obstacles by improving its resources throughout the Department of Defense, establishing mechanisms to expand voter awareness, and enhancing measures of effectiveness to refine its research approach to identify exactly what challenges remain with UOCAVA voters.

Obstacles to UOCAVA voter success vary depending on the voter’s location, access to resources, training opportunities, and the availability of voter assistance. To reduce these obstacles, FVAP made progress in the following key areas:

  • Improving key absentee voting forms – FVAP made key adjustments to its registration and ballot request form and absentee backup ballot using a combination of form development best practices, focus groups, and public comment.
  • Realigned Voting Assistance Guide – to reflect changes to absentee voting forms, absentee voting instructions, and State and local election official contact information.
  • Enhanced FVAP.gov website and portal – improvements to site usability are ongoing based on comprehensive web analytics data and key site achievement metrics such as site visits and the number of form downloads.
  • Revamped training for Voting Assistance Officers (IVAO) – changes reflect greater content alignment across training modules and platforms.
  • Conducted Installation Voting Assistance Officer Workshops – this new training guided IVAOs in setting up Voting Assistance Offices that are in compliance with UOCAVA and Service instructions.
  • Initiated examination of alternative methods for roll out of IVA offices.
  • Enhanced customer service metrics to isolate trends among voters, election officials, and Service members submitting inquiries to the FVAP call center.

FVAP’s efforts in 2017 effectively set the foundation for execution of its voting assistance program across the Department for 2018 as well as possible longer term enhancements for 2020. FVAP will continue to monitor and measure how these changes effectively reduce obstacles to voting success throughout the 2018 election cycle

"Research and data were major themes within the 2017 Report to Congress,” Beirne said. “I'm very proud of the data and research we've been able to conduct, due in part to successful relationships with fellow government agencies, our cooperative agreement with the Council of State Governments, and election officials. As the Report to Congress summarized FVAP's path going forward, the election community can continue to rely on FVAP for quality UOCAVA research and data."