Oversease Vote Foundation and US Vote Summit

The 7th Annual Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) Summit was held on Jan 24th at George Washington University. Not sure, but it looked to me like the auditorium used for Crossfire. The Summit atmosphere was collaborative not confrontational.

Here is the agenda: <agenda> The Summit can be viewed here: <videos>
Anyone seriously interested in absentee voting methods and success can benefit from watching the entire Summit.

The OVF does a great job serving military and overseas voters, providing a web site to help work through the registration and absentee voting process for overseas and military voters. <OVF web> Last year they expanded their services to similarly serve all U.S. Voters <U.S. Vote web>

The good news from the Summit was that overseas and military voters are becoming more successful in voting. This is largely due to states efforts to comply with the MOVE Act (Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act) and to the efforts of the OVF itself.

There were several panels discussing the statistics from the November election and what is next. Two talks were particularly interesting, contrasting, and relevant:

  • Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State of Minnesota. Minnesota has one of the highest levels of voter turnout – with Election Day Registration, without early voting, without no-excuse absentee voting. Similarly they have the highest success rate for overseas and military voting – without Internet voting – they fully support the MOVE Act in electronic ballot delivery, using a special version of the OVF system to provide support and a web interface to those voters. They have an above 99% success rate for absentee voting, with military and overseas voters slightly better than domestic voters! See Ritchie’s talk in segment 2 <video> We also note Ritchie’s general understanding that in Minnesota when a good suggestion is made, that it is acted upon.
  • Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky Secretary of State made the case for Internet voting in support of our troops. Kentucky also uses the OVF system. She toured Iraq with several other Secretaries of the State and concluded Kentucky can improve its performance for military voters by implementing Internet voting. We note also her call out to West Virginia’s Secretary for their success in Internet voting. We also note that our understanding is that the West Virginia Legislature is yet to endorse the continued use of that expensive pilot. The talk is 1hr and 29 min into segment 3 <video>

Take a look yourself and contemplate the difference between a successful, economical, conventional system to serve overseas voters and an expensive, risky, and unproven system of Internet voting yet to be implemented.

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