FVAP report shows continued trends in military voting
Report highlights successes and future challenges
Senior Associate, Pew Center on the States
This release follows the recent publication of data and a report on military and overseas voting by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
While the report includes numerous details focusing on the specifics of members of this community, the general trend is clear: members of the military and their spouses are highly engaged in the elections process and continue to register and vote at higher rates than the general electorate.
Unlike the EAC, which simply reports data provided by states as part of the Election Administration and Voting Survey, the FVAP adjusted military participation data to account for the age and gender of the generally younger and male population of uniformed voters. FVAP also surveyed a number of populations to ascertain their level of participation in 2010.
The result of both of these efforts yielded data showing that military participation in registration and voting is strong, mirroring figures from 2008. Moreover, military voter participation increased in 2010 – more than 20 percent over 2006.
For the first time, FVAP also surveyed military spouses, who are entitled to the same protections under federal and state laws and face hurdles of their own when attempting to register and cast a ballot.
On their own, these numbers clearly show that these voters are more involved in the electoral process than the average citizen, but when you take into account unique challenges they face, the numbers are even more compelling.
For example, many military voters face specific challenges: numerous deployments and relocations; convoluted laws that vary by state and lack uniformity; as well as remote locations that make it difficult to get information, update registration, or get mail quickly to and from their state election offices.
Despite that, those in the military register at a rate of 77 percent compared to 65 percent for the greater eligible voting population. Similarly, both members of the military and their spouses vote at a higher rate than the average voter.
Compared to 2006, 24 percent more military personnel cast an absentee ballot in 2010, a number that may be attributed to new state and federal laws that took effect in response to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.
Unfortunately, the rate of military voters who never received their ballot also went up, suggesting that more work needs to be done to ensure this community is served.
Many of these voters (73 percent of spouses and 38 percent of servicemembers) also used state and local forms, rather than the official federal forms, which may not have allowed them to self-identify as a UOCAVA voter and take advantage of those benefits and protections.
The Pew Center on the States’ Election Initiatives has long worked on behalf of military and overseas voters and these numbers are extremely illuminating and help to guide our work further.
We know more certain than ever that those serving and representing our country overseas want to participate our democracy, and we are dedicated to supporting them with the policies and tools they need.
In addition to advocating for changes in state laws to make the voting process easier for military and overseas voters, our Voting Information Project and Upgrading Voter Registration initiatives are making it easier for these voters to navigate the voter registration process and get the tools and information they need to request a ballot, find the right deadlines, and successfully cast a ballot.
For example, Pew is currently developing an embeddable tool that aims to serve as a one-stop-shop for answering military voters’ questions, including user-specific deadlines and access to a custom Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, all based on a voter’s registered address stateside.
This tool could be embedded on state election websites or even military information outlets to simplify the process by providing them with official information where they look for it: on news or military organizations’ websites. These findings tell us that these voters are engaged and simply need more outlets and easier access to the information they need.
Legislative Action Bulletin (LAB) — National Conference of State Legislatures, October 20, 2011: This edition of LAB, which focuses on election administration legislation in states, provides updates on bills in California and proposals in several states related to the Electoral College.
Alabama: Disabled voters
Arizona: Yuma elections
Georgia: Early voting
Illinois: Voter ID
Louisiana: Post-election rest
Massachusetts: Voter ID
Michigan: Election reform
Minnesota: Ranked-choice voting
Mississippi: Elections cooperation
New Hampshire: Secretary of state
New Jersey: Ballot problems
New York: Absentee ballots
North Carolina: State elections board
South Dakota: Bilingual ballots
Utah: Voter registration
Virginia: Election referendum
Washington: Bilingual ballots
Director, Registration and Elections, Fulton County, Ga. — incumbent in this class performs duties related to directing the overall activities of the Department of Registration and Elections. Responsibilities include overseeing elections administration, voter registration, absentee balloting, voter education and outreach, and support services and establishing the department’s mission, vision, goals, and objectives. Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in business or public administration, political science, organizational development, project management, social science or related field, 7 years of progressively responsible management experience in government administration, business administration, or a legal field involving interpretation of governmental laws, rules and statutes, including 3 years of elections experience and 5 years of supervisory experience. Valid Georgia driver’s license and proof of residency may be requested. Salary: $93,489-$151,455. Application: Online application is available at the county’s website. Completed forms will be accepted at the County Personnel Dept., 141 Pryor Street, Ste., 3030, Atlanta, Ga. 30303. Deadline: Nov. 21.
Information Technology Director, District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics — act as a Database Administrator and provide for the design, implementation, maintenance and repair of BOEE. Guides the selection, installation and maintenance of network infrastructure equipment. Analyzes network equipment and their supporting operating systems software and utilities supplied by hardware manufacturers and/or other vendors to determine optimum configuration for the installation and impact on existing network infrastructure systems. Qualifications: Bachelors of Science and/or Technical certifications. Experience that equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. To be creditable, at least one (1) year of specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization. Salary: $109,062-$155,686. Application: D.C. Department of Human Resources (DCHR) Care Center located in the South Lobby at 441 - 4th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Deadline: Nov. 4
Information Technology Specialist, District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics — assist in planning, designing, developing and implementing the agency (BOEE). Modify database from detailed specifications and troubleshoots systems to identify deficiencies and recommend solutions. Hardware management including workstations, monitors, headsets and other agency peripheral equipment maintenance. Routine system maintenance and troubleshooting as well as provide user assistance. Perform function and failover testing of hardware and software. Provides technical assistance in the design, development, and implementation of improved program designs/operations. Reviews and analyzes planning and operations activities of major program areas administered by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics. Based upon assessments made, identifies actual or potential problem areas, trends, and/or areas of significant concerns. Salary: $62,499-$79,959. Application: D.C. Department of Human Resources (DCHR) Care Center located in the South Lobby at 441 - 4th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Deadline: Nov. 5.