Overseas Vote Foundation Measures Impact of MOVE Act with 2010 Post Election UOCAVA Voter and Election Official Surveys
US Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez Keynotes
Overseas and Military Voting Summit 2011
WASHINGTON D.C. - February 10, 2011 - Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) today releases its 2010 Post Election UOCAVA* Voter Survey and Local Election Official Survey Report, which demonstrates that the recent Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act has begun to shift overseas voting trends in a new and welcome direction.
OVF is making the survey results public at the Fifth Annual OVF UOCAVA Summit 2011. Thirty speakers, lead by keynote speaker US Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, will address an estimated 150 attendees, Summit's largest audience to date.
Summit will be Webcast live:
Drawing from responses from more than 5,000 voters in 140 countries and more than 1,550 local election officials in the US, today's 30-page report quantifies the impact of the MOVE Act on the 2010 General Election.
The report ("Moving Forward: 2010 OVF Post Election UOCAVA Survey Report and Analysis") reveals a measurably positive impact of the MOVE Act on military and overseas voter participation while making clear that the reforms have yet to be completely or effectively implemented across all electoral jurisdictions.
Congress passed the MOVE Act in 2009 in response to chronic reports from overseas and military voters of late or lost ballots as well as unduly burdensome requirements for registering and requesting ballots. As of the General Election in 2010, MOVE requires all states and territories to make voter registration and absentee ballot applications available electronically, provide a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, allow for a 45-day window for the ballot "round-trip", and several other reforms.
As detailed in the survey findings, the most marked positive impact was a decrease of 15 percentage point in 2010 over 2008 in the number of voters who dropped out of the process and did not vote because their ballots were lost or late.
"The need to give more time to military and overseas voters to participate was one of the driving factors behind MOVE's passage," said Dr. Claire Smith, OVF Research Director and author of the survey report. "Today's survey findings demonstrate clearly that federal reform is having a positive effect."
The report breaks this down further:
- In 2010, 82 percent of voters received the ballot they requested; this represents a five percent improvement over 2008.
- Only 16.5 percent of 2010 overseas voters said they received their ballots after the middle of October; while MOVE is designed to decrease this number to zero percent, this still represents a significant decrease from 2008, when 28 percent of overseas voters reported receiving their ballots in late October.
The success of the MOVE Act reforms in 2010 was mitigated, however, by other survey findings, including a high level of confusion among voters and election officials around registration/ballot request form re-filing requirements in 2010; a measurable lack of efficiency in new ballot request methods via email and fax in comparison to delivery via the postal system; and low marks from local election officials for new online ballot delivery and online ballot tracking techniques.
To improve upon these areas of weak performance in 2012, OVF makes six specific recommendations in today's report, including: a request for legislative review of UOCAVA in light of the MOVE Act 2010 implementation; encouragement to the states to adopt the proposed Uniform Military and Overseas Voter Act (UMOVA) drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission; and a call for the federal and state governments to increase communications and outreach to overseas and military voters.
"We're looking forward to this next election cycle where continued diligence in implementing the provisions of the MOVE Act within every responsible agency, state and local election office will be underway. With real experience and lessons learned from 2010, efforts can be more focused to bring stronger 2012 results," said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, OVF President and CEO.
* The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act is commonly referred to as UOCAVA. UOCAVA provides the legal basis for absentee voting requirements for these citizens: active members of the Uniformed Services, the Merchant Marine, and the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, their family members, and U.S. citizens residing outside the United States.
2010 Post Election Survey of UOCAVA Voters
5,257 UOCAVA voters completed OVF’s 62-question 2010 Post Election Survey, which launched on Election Day, November 2, 2010 and ran through December 31, 2010. Survey questions captured data on quantitative and qualitative factors affecting the military and overseas voting experience. This is OVF’s fourth post election voter survey.
2010 Local Election Official (LEO) Survey
1,555 LEOs responded to the 55-question LEO survey, which ran from November 30, 2010 through January 1, 2011. The survey was sent to 10,712 LEO’s in jurisdictions around the US including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. This is OVF's third post election LEO survey.
About Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF):
OVF (www.overseasvotefoundation.org) helps overseas and military voters participate in federal elections by providing public access to innovative voter registration tools and services.
Overseas American citizens, State Department employees, and active
duty uniformed service members and their accompanying families within
and outside of the United States can all register to vote from abroad
using OVF's services. Seventeen customized OVF websites offer access to the complete suite of OVF's Internet-based voter services; the OVF websites welcomed 720,000 visitors in 2010.
OVF is not connected in any way with any government or military
organization. OVF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public
charity incorporated in Delaware.
OVF is committed to open dialogue and aims to nurture constructive
discussion on the role and use of technology in UOCAVA voting. OVF
believes that, when applied appropriately and transparently, new
technologies and the Internet can bring UOCAVA forward faster than
any other element in the mix of tools.