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electionlineWeekly — September 13, 2018

Table of Contents

IV. Research and Report Summaries
Research and Report Summaries are provided by Sean Greene. Greene has served as the director of research for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Pew Center on the States Election Initiatives. He currently lives in Rome where he is studying Italian, drinking Moretti beer and still paying close attention to the administration of elections in the United States. He's looking forward to casting his first ballot as a UOCAVA voter.

2016 Overseas Citizen Population Analysis Report, Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), September 12, 2018: In its most recent biennial Overseas Citizen Population Analysis (OCPA), FVAP estimates there were three million U.S. citizens of voting age living abroad in 2016. Of these approximately 208,000, or 7 percent, cast ballots compared with a domestic turnout of 72 percent. The report attributes some of this gap in turnout to challenges faced by overseas voters such as speed of mail delivery.

Of the nearly three million voting age citizens living overseas it is estimated the most, more than 620,000, live in Canada, followed by nearly 320,000 in the United Kingdom, and approximately 200,000 in Mexico.

Securing the Vote: Protecting American Democracy, a Consensus Study Report of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, September 2018: This report, written by a committee of experts from a variety of fields, recommends several actions federal, state, and local officials can take to improve election security including:

  • Elections should be conducted by human-readable paper ballots and voting machines that cannot be independently audited should no longer be used.
  • States should mandate risk-limiting audits.
  • Internet voting should not be used now and should only be used when there are guarantees of secrecy, security, and verifiability.
  • The integrity of voter registration databases should be routinely assessed.
  • Jurisdictions using electronic poll books should have a back-up plan in case the use of those systems is disrupted.
  • The designation of elections as critical infrastructure should continue.

Operations and Performance of Virginia’s Department of Elections, Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, Sept. 10, 2018: This report to the Governor and General Assembly of Virginia evaluated the operation and performance of the state Department of Elections. The findings include:

  • The state uses a fairly robust process to maintain its voter registration list but there is room for improvement.
  • The state’s IT system that maintains the voter registration list and interacts with local agencies is not sufficiently functional or reliable.
  • Department of Election oversight of local election administration does not fully assure election integrity and uniformity.
  • The department has lacked continuity of leadership and continues to be susceptible to political influence.

More than 20 recommendations are provided to help make improvements in these areas.