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COLUMBUS – Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced that Ohio was one of the first seven recipients of an Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections (EASE) grant made available by the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). The $1,856,000 grant will enable Ohio military and overseas voters to better utilize technology to streamline the absentee voting process, from registering to vote, requesting an absentee ballot, marking the ballot electronically and processing the printed ballots that will be returned to local boards of elections.

“Ensuring Ohioans are able to cast their ballot in an easy and straightforward manner while living abroad or serving our country is a top priority for me,” Husted said.  “We want to modernize this process in order to give these voters the tools they need to cast their ballots and ultimately increase confidence that their votes will be counted as cast.”

The Secretary of State’s office will use the funding to provide equipment to county boards of elections for processing registrations, absentee ballot requests and actual ballots from military and overseas voters. A major component of this project will be to work in tandem with an Ohio college or university to collect data that will help determine the challenges these voters face and how best to overcome those obstacles using the state of the art technology.

In August, Secretary Husted announced the launch of the Military Ready-to-Vote program which is designed to serve as a one stop shop for military voters on active duty. A major component of the Military Ready-to-Vote program is the use of electronic media to communicate and assist military voters in registering to vote and casting their ballots. This grant will allow the Secretary of State’s office to further identify how best to utilize technology in serving and ultimately, increasing participation among Ohio’s military and overseas voters.

Federal Voting Assistance Director Robert Carey said, “The Department of Defense is dedicated to improving military and overseas voter success rates. Improving acceptance rates for voted ballots goes a long way toward that goal.  Research into the technologies behind the most successful systems helps the Department understand best practices and helps States deploy the best systems for future elections. Ohio presented an elegant and unique system in its application and we are pleased to award this grant. We applaud Ohio's aggressive support of military and overseas voters, and look forward to working with them on this initiative."

For more information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program, contact the FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE) or email the program at VOTE@FVAP.GOV.

Additional Information

Federal Voting Assistance Program Grants Release

www.fvap.gov/global/news/nr29-2011.html

Federal Voting Assistance Program

www.fvap.gov

Military Ready-to-Vote Program

www.OhioMiliitaryVotes.com. 

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For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at 614-995-2168 ormmcclellan@ohiosecretaryofstate.gov.
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