Federal Voting Program Looks to Build on Successes
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2013 The Federal Voting Assistance Program hopes to build on the success of the 2012 election cycle in next year’s mid-term elections, said Matt Boehmer, the new director of the program.
Boehmer testified about the voting assistance program before the House Committee on Administration today.
Voting is the fundamental right of those living in a democracy, the director said. He spoke about the improvements Congress put in place to make voting in federal elections easier and more accessible. These steps are part of the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act for 1986 amended by passage of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act signed into law in 2009.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program aims to promote awareness of the right to vote and eliminate barriers to voting.
“In 2012, FVAP made great strides to improve processes, programs and tools,” he said. The office launched an aggressive communications plan to promote the awareness of the office’s resources including an upcoming revamp of its website.
“Our post-election data revealed that when service members used our resources, they are more likely to return their ballots,” Boehmer told lawmakers. Data also shows that the office must do more to raise awareness of these tools, he said.
“It is my personal goal … to ensure that we accomplish this,” Boehmer said.
In 2014, the office is developing new public service announcements aimed at overseas citizens and military spouses.
“We are providing customized digital toolkits to our voting assistance officers, election officials, advocacy organizations and overseas companies with large numbers of U.S. citizens,” Boehmer said.
The office is reaching out to younger voters via social media and mobile devices, he said.
“Military members register to vote at a rate equal to or greater than the general population,” Boehmer said. “But registration isn’t the end of the story. Service members are an especially mobile population. Keeping up-to-date contact information on file at the election office is an on-going challenge.”
The office is working on initiatives to automate address updates and inform service members to notify their election officials of any new addresses.
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