CLOVE Initiative Logo
CLOVE REQUEST HONORED BY FVAP
As of July 3rd, the 2005 FPCA Voter Registration / Ballot Request form is back online at the Federal Voting Assistance Program. This action acknowledges the serious overseas citizen voter concerns as voiced by the CLOVE Initiative.

American Citizens Abroad - CLOVE Victory Announcement
[Download the Release]

Rep. Maloney Applauds Federal Voter Office Decision, July 3, 2012
[See the Announcement]

CLOVE Announces Major Overseas Voting Rights Win, July 2, 2012
[See the Announcement]

Pentagon Reverses Course On American Voters Living Abroad, NY Times, July 2, 2012

OVF Letter with Winston & Strawn Legal Brief, Jun 22, 2012
[Download Letter and Legal Brief]

Congressional Letter to Secretary of Defense, June 21, 2012
[Download Letter]

Second CLOVE Letter to FVAP, May 21, 2012 [Download Letter]

First CLOVE Letter to FVAP, May 11, 2012 [Download Letter]

Change to Ballot Request Form Angers US Expats, NY Times, May 9, 2012

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney - [Download Letter to FVAP]

No effort was spared in pursuing our current objective to reinstate the 2005 FPCA Voter Registration / Ballot Request form. And our efforts have been rewarded. Enfranchisement of US overseas citizens has been protected for now and into the future.

On June 22, 2012, a group of congressional representatives delivered a letter to Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, calling his attention to the issues that plague the 2011 FPCA. 

On the same day, Overseas Vote Foundation, with legal support from Winston & Strawn, delivered a letter and legal brief to the Department of Defense Acting Inspector General, Lynn Halbrooks, outlining the seven major legal questions that the 2011 FPCA raises. The arguments are plain. Action is needed.

One week later, the 2005 FPCA form was reinstated on the FVAP website. OVF uses only the 2005 FPCA on all of its 17 websites.

Background:

The goal of the CLOVE Initiative is to ensure the printed and online collateral material used in the voting process by overseas citizens is implemented with plain language forms and instructions that support voter enfranchisement.

The CLOVE Initiative was founded in response to recent revisions of the standard federal overseas voter registration/ballot request form (referred to as the “FPCA”).

The overseas voter registration/ballot request form (FPCA) form was revised and released without review by overseas voter groups – an action that the CLOVE Initiative will work actively to prevent in the future. A section on the form has been altered to require voters to declare their “intent” to return, or not to return to the U.S.

Although seemingly harmless, there are several negative implications for voters who unwittingly make this declaration under oath. CLOVE counsels against the use of the new FPCA form. Voters should avoid this declaration while acceptable options remain.

As the FPCA voter registration and ballot request form is the most fundamental document in the overseas voting process, its language must be clear, concise and understandable by voters to encourage their electoral participation. Unfortunately, the new version is more likely to deter voters than engage them.

CLOVE’s first action is a survey on the new FPCA form:
Overseas voters are encouraged to complete and promote the CLOVE survey at this link:

http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22FH9LM2E5J

CLOVE will organize conference call meetings with overseas groups to discuss and explain the current issues around the new FPCA, the implications of its use and action plans to steer voters to the previous, noncontroversial version.

A core effort of CLOVE will be to constructively engage with the Federal Voting Assistance Program to modify the form and ameliorate the process of voting materials review so that it is more inclusive. Our aim is to prevent this type of unwanted outcomes in the future.
 
Overseas Vote Foundation will continue to provide only the safe version of the FPCA form (Standard Form 76 Rev.10-2005) throughout the 2012 General Election year. Voters can continue to register and request their ballots on all OVF websites without forced declarations.

CLOVE Initiative Members include:

For further informationSee the CLOVE Initiative Backgrounder

To join the CLOVE initiative, please contact: CLOVEinitiative@googlemail.com

Press Contact: +1(202) 470 2480; CLOVEinitiative@googlemail.com