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Sept 20, 2018

CSG and Department of Defense Launch Five-Year Overseas Voting Initiative With Convening of Election Officials to Set Research Agenda


Initiative co-chairs Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos and Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman 
lead group of 25 state and local election officials from across the U.S.


LEXINGTON, KY—The Council of State Governments, or CSG, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, or FVAP, and the 25 state and local election official members of the Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, recently met for a two-day facilitated meeting to inform the program's research agenda with the goal of aiding the nation's military and overseas citizen voters and the election officials who serve them.
"I'd like to acknowledge the very productive and enlightening work that took place during the two-day kickoff meeting of our new OVI Working Group late last month," said David Beirne, director of FVAP. "I can't express enough how much FVAP, CSG and I personally appreciate the valuable time of the working group members and the leadership of Secretary Condos and Secretary Wyman. This initiative will allow FVAP to identify ongoing challenges for military and overseas voting and identify possible solutions for us to explore together over this program's duration. I'd also like to acknowledge the work of CSG in organizing and facilitating this session where many ideas and common themes emerged."
CSG is working collaboratively once again with the FVAP under a new five-year, $3.9 million cooperative agreement to continue its work in improving the voting process for military personnel and other U.S. citizen overseas voters while educating policymakers and other stakeholders about the challenges that these voters face.
While the initial OVI program—which was conducted from 2013 through 2017—made significant progress in improving the military and overseas voting process, the group identified additional priorities that will be looked at more closely during this new agreement.
“CSG is very proud of the work we have produced collaboratively with FVAP and our team of dedicated state and local election official working group members over the four years of our original joint program,” said Elizabeth Whitehouse, director of the CSG Center of Innovation. “We are eager to provide further support to the men and women who serve our great country and all overseas voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, or UOCAVA, through this next phase of the OVI with our working group led by Secretary Condos and Secretary Wyman."
The OVI’s national co-chairs Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos and Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman are well-positioned to maximize the project’s impact on military and overseas voters, election officials, state policymakers, and other stakeholders.
“I’m pleased to serve as OVI co-chair,” said Condos, who also serves as the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State. “I want to thank CSG and FVAP for this honor, and for the chance work alongside Secretary Wyman and other state and local election officials on this important issue. Ensuring our military and overseas voters have easy access for voter participation is fundamental to our democratic values and is very important to me, my constituents in the state of Vermont, and my fellow secretaries of state across the nation."
Wyman offers unique insight and experience on UOCAVA voting issues as chief election official of the state of Washington and the wife of a former service member.
“Working to enhance the voter experience for our military voters is part of how we demonstrate our respect and admiration to our military members who serve the cause of freedom, and I thank CSG and FVAP for this opportunity,” Wyman said. “Serving our country’s military and overseas voters has been a passionate focus of my work as Washington secretary of state after having experienced the unfortunate arrival of absentee ballots the day after an election while my U.S. Army Ranger husband and I were deployed to Germany in the 1980s. I look forward to the opportunity to work together with Secretary Condos and our esteemed colleagues on the OVI Working Group to make a difference."
A link to an earlier press release on the project can be found here.


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.