I joined the Overseas Vote Foundation this year. I’ve been living, and voting from, Europe for six years. But in that time, I’ve never been to Bavaria…and I certainly haven’t rubbed shoulders with an elite a group of election officials as I’m going to meet in Munich at the Fourth Annual UOCAVA Summit 2010. My ticket is booked. I bought a new outfit. You’re invited too, by the way.

Summit 2010 is a conference designed to constructively address overseas and military voting issues and challenges that we face today. 
OVF Summit 2010 Logo
The event is open to all interested overseas citizen voters, members of the military and foreign services and their families, students, advocates, technologists, innovators, members of congress, election officials, secretaries of state, academics and members of the press.   Please join us!

Topics will include:


  • The power of the Internet to democratize voting information and access to all US citizens around the globe;
  • New forms and approaches for outreach to a globally dispersed voter community;
  • The potential of Internet-based voting for overseas and military voters – where it stands, where it’s going;
  • Reflections on diasporas and their varied approaches to managing electoral participation, and what can be learned from others;
  • The ongoing challenges faced by overseas and military voters and what should be done to tackle them

Why am I excited?

Look at this lineup of confirmed Summit 2010 speakers:

John Sebes, Open Source Digital Voting Foundation; Carol Paquette, Consultant to EAC; Andrew Appel, Princeton University; Scott Wiedmann, Federal Voting Assistance Program; Pat Hollarn, Operation BRAVO Foundation; Conrad Tribble, US Dept of State; Donetta Davidson, US Election Assistance Commission; Matt Dunlap, Secretary of State, Maine; John Godley, Federal Voting Assistance Program; Roland Crim, American Citizens Abroad; Matthew Segal, Student Association for Voter Empowerment; Tia Viering, New 7 Wonders; Sam Oliker-Friedland, New Organizing Institute; Doug Chapin, The Pew Center of the States, Gregory Miller, Open Source Digital Voting Foundation; Don Inbody, Texas State University; Sarah Starkweather, Singapore University; Paul Gronke, Reed College; Judith Murray, University of Newcastle; Perry Alton, Service Voting Assistance Officer, Army; Susan B. Otto, Service Voting Assistance Officer, Navy; Gilbert Harrison, Service Voting Assistance Officer, Air Force; Kenneth Warford, Service Voting Assistance Officer, Marines; Frank Marcheski, Service Voting Assistance Officer, Coast Guard; Alec Yasinsac, University of South Alabama; Jennifer Brunner, Secretary of State, Ohio; Pedro Cortes, Secretary of State, Pennsylvania; Matt Dunlap, Secretary of State, Maine; Alexander Trechsel, European University Institute (EUI); Christian Bull, The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development of Norway; Thad Hall, University of Utah; Constanze Kurz, Attorney; Pamela Smith, Verified Voting; Michael McDonald, George Mason University; Tim Elig, Defense Data Manpower Center; Toby Moore, Research Triangle Institute; Daniel Murphy, International Federation of Election Systems; Gary Smith, Operation BRAVO Foundation; Jessica Richman, Oxford Internet Institute; Robert Carey, Federal Voting Assistance Program

See here the complete agenda.

For someone interested in voting rights, and passionate about the voting rights of my fellow overseas Americans, this is the educational big leagues.

Because of the enactment of the MOVE Act, 2010 is a pivotal year for overseas voter enfranchisement. The specific provisions of the MOVE Act are going to prompt lots of significant changes – like a shakeup of primary dates in a dozen states – but it’s also a sea change in attitudes: enfranchising overseas and military voters is, suddenly, important to everybody.

Is it because we have so many military deployed in hard-to-reach locations this year? Is it because we have a President who has lived overseas and, for the first time, appointed a full-time liaison to the overseas community? Is it because we have a new and ever-expanding Americans Abroad Caucus in both houses of Congress?   Or is it because more and more Americans are voting from overseas, despite the obstacles, and showing those in charge that we are a voting bloc that can be counted on to participate?

“All of the above” is the right answer.

It all means the 2010 is an important year in overseas voting and, it so happens, that many of the people involved in making that true will be in Munich in March.

If you can’t make it to Munich this March, then consider me your Summit 2010 correspondent. I'll report on events in this blog.

Have a comment or want to suggest a topic? 

Write to Clair Whitmer, OVF Director of Voter Outreach