CSG, U.S. Department of Defense
Partner on Overseas Voting Initiative
By Mary Branham, CSG Managing Editor
The Council of State Governments is partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense to educate state policymakers about an effort to help uniformed services personnel and other U.S. citizens overseas vote in federal elections.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program covers more than 6 million potential voters, including active duty members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Merchant Marine, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and their voting age dependents. It also covers U.S. citizens living outside the U.S.
“Promoting the right of uniformed services personnel, their voting-age dependents and overseas civilians to vote in federal elections is of paramount importance to the American system of democracy,” said John Mountjoy, CSG’s director of policy, research and strategic initiatives. “U.S. citizens who are located overseas should be able to register to vote, request and receive absentee ballots in a timely manner, and successfully cast those ballots in their state of legal residence.”
CSG is working with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness through a four-year, $2.9 million cooperative agreement. CSG will conduct outreach and provide assistance to state policymakers in better understanding the mission of the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
CSG will work closely with DOD and the Federal Voting Assistance Program to:
Conduct research and policy analysis of electronic absentee voting systems for military voters for federal elections.
Help educate state and local leaders through programs and publications focusing on electronic systems to support military and overseas voters, including electronic voter registration and write-in absentee ballot systems for federal candidates, and other online absentee balloting delivery and information portals.
Develop other programs, publications, initiatives and meetings in support of the agreement.
As the only national membership association serving all three branches of state government in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories, CSG is uniquely positioned to provide DOD with collaborative management and research services, Mountjoy said.
As part of the project, CSG will create and staff two national advisory groups focused on policy and technology. CSG also will conduct research and develop policy and educational products tailored for federal and state policymakers.
“Honoring the men and women that protect and ensure our right to vote by guaranteeing their ability to vote in federal and state elections in a timely and secure manner is simply the right thing to do,” said Mountjoy.