[Screenshot image via FVAP]
It is my distinct pleasure to present the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) 2017 Annual Report to the President and Congress. This report provides an assessment of our activities supporting the special elections for federal office in 2017 — and our preparations for the 2018 election cycle. It is important to remember that FVAP is an assistance agency– our mission is to inform voters of the right to vote and provide the tools and resources to help those who want to vote do so successfully from anywhere in the world.
Though 2017 was a less visible year in terms of elections for federal office, it was nonetheless a very busy year for FVAP. We worked continuously to ensure voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) were armed with the information and assistance needed to successfully participate in special elections. FVAP also dedicated time and resources to planning and advancing recommendations in support of the 2018 election cycle.
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.
Thanks to collaboration with our many stakeholders — Congressional Leaders, Department of State, state and local election officials, the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC), advocacy organizations, and the Military Services — FVAP made important strides in fulfilling those initiatives. Significant accomplishments in 2017 include:
– Improved key absentee voting forms;
– Updated the Voting Assistance Guide;
– Enhanced FVAP.gov website and Portal for greater usability;
– Revamped training for Voting Assistance Officers and election officials;
– Developed a standardized dataset to improve UOCAVA studies;
– Conducted additional analyses on 2016 post-election data; and,
– Initiated a survey of overseas citizens to learn their 2016 voting experiences.
This report provides greater detail on these initiatives and introduces new efforts to support our stakeholders during the 2018 election cycle. I look forward to the opportunities and accomplishments ahead, and I know that together, in partnership with the dedicated UOCAVA community, we can reach our shared vision: Military members, their families, and Americans living abroad can successfully exercise the right to vote from anywhere in the world.
FVAP is a lot like the American men and women it serves around the world: doing important work for the nation but in a way that doesn’t always get a lot of notice. Thanks to everyone at FVAP – including those who literally travel the globe to bring voting information to Americans aboard – for this report and for your vital service to American democracy and its citizens everywhere. 2018 will be a busy year, but this report suggests that FVAP is laying the groundwork to make it a successful one. Stay tuned…