Overseas Vote Foundation, Voting Research Newsletter

Some important and fascinating information in the latest issue of the Voting Research Newsletter <read>

In general there is some good news with regard to improvements over time in return rates of military ballots, yet several types of relevant data not collected or reported for specific states and for all states. Closer to home, Connecticut is one of the many states missing data.

Some specific highlights we note (see the newsletter for charts and much more fascinating and important information):

THE IMPACT OF THE ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF BLANK BALLOTS IN 2012

…2012 proved to be a tipping point in the use of technology by military and overseas voters, as over 50% of survey respondents indicated using some form of electronic transmission to receive a blank ballot.

…Only 24 states were able to provide a breakdown of paper versus electronic ballots transmitted for the 2012

…Contrary to expectations of many in the election community, the preliminary data indicate that in most states (11 of the 16 respondents) electronic ballots had lower return rates.

…While the impact of electronic transmission of election material is unclear at this time, the overall ballot return rate suggests that the ability of UOCAVA voters to return their ballot on time may be a result of the MOVE Act mandate to send ballots 45 days before an election rather than electronic transmission methods.

…However, despite these improvements, about 25% of UOCAVA ballots are still not returned or their status remains unknown. Second, UOCAVA voter turnout has not increased, but appears relatively stable between 11% and 12%. Despite the new technology, the number of ballots transmitted in 2012 was lower than in 2008.

NEW FEDERAL REPORTS: LOOKING AT THE FVAP AND EAC’S 2012 REPORTS 
[FVAP: Federal Voting Assistance Program. EAC: Election Assistance Commission.]

…With their 2012 report, the FVAP has done much to try and rectify the non-respondent bias in their survey.

…Unfortunately, the 2012 FVAP report does not consider overseas civilian voters. This is a significant flaw and as a result, any reported findings are overstated. The report, and its findings are limited to the population that has been studied (military) and does not take into account the diversity of the UOCAVA population, of which the FVAP is charged with fully serving.

…There are several other problematic elements in the report

…Both the FVAP and EAC reports have improved, but still suffer from inconsistencies within the reporting of the data. In 2014, the EAC and the FVAP will work together to improve the reporting process. In 2014, the EAC will consolidate their survey with FVAP’s local election official survey into one combined instrument. “The 2014 EAC survey is intended to meet the requirements of both the EAC and FVAP to collect election related statistics from local election officials.” The proposed 2014 survey is currently available for public comment.

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