All states could significantly improve their voting process for military and overseas voters. AMOVR is working with the states and a wide array of partners to advance commonsense reforms to make the election system work better for Americans around the world who defend our country and represent its ideals. Those key reforms include the following:
Send Ballots Earlier and Faster
States should print and mail ballots earlier in the election cycle to allow enough time to compensate for any potential delays later in the process. Furthermore, if states would expedite the mailing of ballots through existing mail methods (military mail and postal service), many states would provide voters with sufficient time to vote. Additionally, transmitting blank ballots electronically does not risk voters' privacy while improving the process in all states, especially the 16 states and the District of Columbia that do not currently provide enough time to vote.
Build More Time into the Voting Process
States should allow a minimum of 45 days for ballot transit time (from the date of sending the ballots out to the deadline for receiving them back) and eliminate the notary requirement. Twenty-two states do not follow FVAP's guideline to allow a minimum period of 45 days for ballot transit time. Furthermore, locating acceptable overseas notaries (required by eight states for UOCAVA ballots) costs valuable time in remote locations and could easily be replaced with a self-administered oath, as per FVAP recommendations.
Modernize the Voter Registration System
AMOVR's members in the non-profit and academic communities are leading research and design efforts to modernize the voter registration system to allow for automatic updates of voter files with the most current address information. These efforts would simplify the registration and voting process for highly mobile military and overseas voters and require that government maintain complete and accurate voter registration lists so that all eligible voters - and only eligible voters - can exercise the right to vote.
Harness Technology to Streamline the Process
Members of AMOVR are working to utilize modern technology in novel ways to improve the voting process for this important community. These include efforts that range from developing FWAB/SWAB ballot population tools to innovative pilot projects that bring information and voting technology to voters around the world.
Increase Awareness and Expand
the Use of the FWAB
The FWAB currently serves as a safety net for UOCAVA voters who request an official absentee ballot, but either do not receive it or lack the time to return it. Voters can download the FWAB online but many are unaware of its availability. Although the FWAB is accepted by all states, some states elect to accept it only for federal offices or only from uniformed military service members. The states would better serve voters by increasing awareness of the FWAB, making it available to all UOCAVA voters and accepting it for federal, state and local offices.
Develop a Model Law for States
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is drafting a model law for states to eliminate unnecessary procedural requirements and build in at least 45 days for delivery and return of overseas ballots. The goal is to produce a Uniform Military and Overseas Voter Act with consistent timelines, requirements and standards for UOCAVA registration, absentee ballot distribution and ballot voting - not to mention improved technology for ballot transmission.
Promote 21st Century Technology to Inform Voters
AMOVR seeks to harness 21st century technology to create a secure and seamless voting experience for those overseas. This includes pilot projects and initiatives such as the Voting Information Project that would give voters on-demand access to voting information and ballot tools.