The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), in conjunction with several states and counties, has begun conducting a large Internet registration and voting demonstration for the 2004 election. This Congressionally mandated project is called SERVE, which stands for Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment.
Thousands of absentee uniformed services personnel, their dependents, and overseas U.S. citizens will have the opportunity to register to vote and cast their ballots from any Windows-based computer with Internet access, anywhere in the world. County election officials will use the SERVE system to receive voter registration applications, provide ballots to voters, and accept voted ballots. These officials will use their existing election administration systems to process registrations and ballots.
“Security is everyone’s first question about Internet voting, so we made security the driving factor in the SERVE system design,” said FVAP Director Polli Brunelli. “We are working closely with state and local election officials to ensure that the integrity of the electoral process is maintained.” States currently expected to participate in SERVE are Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.
The SERVE project is the latest in a series of technology initiatives undertaken by FVAP as part of its mission to improve access to the polls for uniformed services personnel and overseas American citizens. A small-scale proof of concept pilot, Voting Over the Internet, was successfully conducted for the 2000 election. In that experiment, 84 citizens located in 21 states and 11 countries returned ballots to jurisdictions in Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. This was the first time that binding votes were cast over the Internet for federal, state and local offices. The new SERVE system will build on the knowledge and experience FVAP gained in this groundbreaking and highly successful project.
Brunelli said that all eligible absentee uniformed services personnel and U.S. citizens overseas are encouraged to use SERVE to register and vote in 2004 by logging on to www.SERVEUSA.gov. [link no longer available]
The Federal Voting Assistance Program is an element of the Department of Defense. Additional information on FVAP is available at www.fvap.gov.