Escambia County is among thirteen Florida counties sharing a $1.6 million grant to enhance the absentee voting process for military and overseas citizens. The Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections grant was awarded by the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
Absent military voters and those living overseas can request, mark and track their absentee ballots electronically. The system will be designed to provide greater online access, automation of absentee requests and expedite ballot delivery making the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act voting process more seamless. Speeding up ballot delivery is expected to increase ballot request and return rates of military and overseas voters.
“We value the vital role our service personnel play in protecting our freedom. This grant provides an innovative way to enhance the elections process so more than 130,000 military and overseas voters can more readily participate in future elections,” said David H. Stafford, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections.
Phase one, providing online access to ballots, is expected to roll out in time for the January 31, 2012 Presidential Preference Primary election. Microsoft is one of coalition’s partners in the innovative program.
Members of the Our Mission: Your Vote coalition include Baker, Bay, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Escambia, Leon, Nassau, Okaloosa, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, and Wakulla Counties—serving nearly every major military installation in Florida. Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections will administer the grant.