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April 18, 2019

CSG Data Standardization Work Underpins Federal Voting Assistance Program Research on Military and Overseas Voting

LEXINGTON, KY—The Council of State Governments announced today the release of the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s, or FVAP’s, research note, "Data Standardization and the Impact of Ballot Transmission Timing and Mode on UOCAVA Voting." CSG collaborated with FVAP on this endeavor. 

The report included key findings regarding voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, or UOCAVA, suggesting that UOCAVA voters who received their ballots early were more likely to return them, and that UOCAVA voters who received their ballots by mail are slightly more likely to return them than those who receive them electronically. CSG developed the data standard and conducted outreach to collect the data while FVAP analyzed the collected data to produce the report.
The Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, a collaboration between FVAP and CSG, led the way in creating the data standard and collecting the subsequent data for these findings. The OVI maintains a working group of 30 election officials, including secretaries of state, state election directors, and local election officials. In 2015, the OVI working group members, together with FVAP and in cooperation with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, or EAC, set out to examine the Election Administration and Voting Survey, or EAVS, and how to best capture data from states in order to fully examine the challenges faced by UOCAVA voters and the elections officials who serve them. They released a report in 2016 with recommendations of modifications to what became the EAVS Section B, or ESB, Data Standard.
CSG released another OVI Working Group report in 2018 based on the creation of recommendations surrounding UOCAVA data standardization and performance metrics, which further aided in FVAP’s work.
“CSG is honored to partner with FVAP and to assist in the massive undertaking of compiling this data,'' said Elizabeth Whitehouse, director of the CSG Center of Innovation, which houses the OVI. “The OVI team worked diligently to refine the process of collecting this data. I’m particularly proud of CSG’s role in giving the states a voice in this process and ensuring that the data collected accurately portrays their work for UOCAVA voters. The findings of this research are fascinating and will empower the OVI team to work even harder to assist states with their absentee voting processes for military and overseas voters.”
FVAP Director David Beirne believes the results of this research are an important indicator of where FVAP should focus its efforts moving forward.
“FVAP will capitalize on the momentum created by the ESB Data Standard analysis and will continue to look for more implementation across jurisdictions with substantial populations of UOCAVA voters,” Beirne said. “As we seek to best serve military and overseas voters, having data points on which to base our next steps is pivotal. FVAP is grateful to CSG for it work in creating the ESB and collecting this data. We are proud to continue this partnership with the mission of making sure every military and overseas voter has a say in our democracy.”


The Council of State Governments is our nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.