Overseas Vote Foundation and CLOVE Initiative
Achieve Major Overseas Citizen Voting Rights Win
Federal Voting Assistance Agency Reverses Earlier Action on Registration Form
New Oversight Welcomed for Changes to Future Version of the Form
WASHINGTON, DC, July 2, 2012
– Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF), as part of the CLOVE Initiative (Clear Language for Overseas Voter Enfranchisement)
, applauds the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) announcement to reverse their stance on the 2005 and 2011 versions of the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the voter registration/ballot request form used by US citizens abroad.
“This reversal is a major vindication of our cause and actions,” stated Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, President and CEO, OVF. “We worked tirelessly on this issue for many months, which culminated in our delivery of a letter and legal brief to the Department of Defense Inspector General
outlining our serious concerns about the 2011 form and recommending an immediate reinstatement of the 2005 version.
“We herald the news that the 2005 FPCA form will be reinstated and that new oversight will be put in place to instigate a public comment process for the 2011 version. It is a great day for US overseas voters,” continued Dzieduszycka-Suinat.
In late 2011, the FPCA form had been revised and released without review by overseas voter groups. The opening section on the 2011 form had been altered to require voters to declare their “intent” to return, or not to return. CLOVE counseled actively against the use of the new 2011 FPCA form as the implications of its use are detrimental to short and long-term overseas voter enfranchisement.
As the FPCA voter registration and ballot request form is the most fundamental document in the overseas voting process, the CLOVE Initiative members believe that its language must be clear, concise and understandable by voters to encourage their electoral participation. Unfortunately, the new version was more likely to deter voters than engage them.
“Not only has our cause and action been recognized as valid and legitimate, we have succeeded in changing the course of history for overseas citizen voters. Our voting program and law will be upheld to work for all overseas citizens without unintended consequences/implications to the voters who participate,” cheered Chip Levengood, Chairman, OVF.