Blog

  • The voting process from a unique perspective: a first-time, visually-impaired voter tells her story

    By Pauline Ugalde

    The midterm election season is about to peak and I would like to address the voting process from a unique perspective: that of a first-time, visually-impaired voter and how that initial experience informs my decision to vote again in the upcoming midterm election.

    Over the years, I have noticed how people have primarily focused on the mechanical, physical process of voting versus a voter’s individual voting experience, let alone why they vote, or the emotions invoked by participating in this act which makes the United States a democratic nation. I intend to address the accessibility of preexisting voting systems and the emotions surrounding the occasion. In short: my reasons for voting profoundly affected my reactions to the act of voting itself.

  • The Myth of “Secure” Blockchain Voting

    by David Jefferson, Verified Voting[1]

    In the last couple of years several startup companies have begun to promote Internet voting systems, this time with a new twist – using a blockchain as the container for voted ballots transmitted from voters’ private devices. Blockchains are a relatively new system category somewhat akin to a distributed database. Proponents promote them as a revolutionary innovation providing strong security guarantees that can render online elections safe from cyberattack.

    Unfortunately, such claims are false. Although the subject of considerable hype, blockchains do not offer any real security from cyberattacks. Like other online elections architectures, a blockchain election is vulnerable to a long list of threats that would leave it exposed to hacking and manipulation by anyone on the Internet, and the attack might never be detected or corrected.

    In its recent report[2], “Securing the Vote – Protecting American Democracy” the National Academy of Sciences summarized its findings:

    Conducting secure and credible Internet elections will require substantial scientific advances.

    The use of blockchains in an election scenario would do little to address the major security requirements of voting, such as voter verifiability. The security contributions offered by blockchains are better obtained by other means. In the particular case of Internet voting, blockchain methods do not redress the security issues associated with Internet voting.

    In this short paper we attempt to explain why blockchains cannot deliver the security guarantees required for safe online elections. But the summary is simple: Most of the serious vulnerabilities threaten the integrity and secrecy of voting before the ballots ever reach the blockchain.

  • Special Feature: theSkimm Launches No Excuses Campaign powered by US Vote Civic Data

    Whoosh! theSkimm has hit the accelerator with their NoExcuses campaign.

    In their own words, No Excuses is "theSkimm's nonpartisan campaign aiming to get 100,000 people to vote in the midterm elections. We're not here to tell you who to vote for, we just want to make sure that you vote. Because democracy." And that about says it all.

    When you click into No Excuses, and choose your state, you are instantly served the election dates and deadlines that you need to know about to effectively participate in the 2018 Midterm Election.

    We won't hide it: U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) is very proud to be the Civic Data source that is powering this great service and this tremendous outreach campaign. Our goal at US Vote is to enable election and voting innovators who are creating exactly these sorts of interactive tools and services for voters, to use the best and most relevant civic data available.

    US Vote's Civic Data API does that part. And theSkimm is bringing it forward. What they say is: "This year, there are literally no excuses." Now that is something we can all agree on!

  • Just 7% of Overseas Voters Voted in 2016

    by Andee Goldman, Regional Outreach, Israel, Overseas Vote Initiative

    Approximately 7% of eligible American overseas voters returned their ballots in the 2016 General Election. That's right. Just 7%.

    It's a tiny improvement over the 4% level last reported, which we also found quite disappointing

    The Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) most recent Overseas Citiizens Population Analysis (OCPA report) cites "obstacles" to the overseas voting process as the reason for this low participation - an opinion that Overseas Vote does not share with the agency.  Overseas voters have many streamlined processes, like the facility of receiving their ballots online, that make overseas voting easier than ever. And our research shows exceedingly high satisfaction rates from overseas voters who do participate. Rather than cast blame and make excuses for poor results, we think it would be better to start thinking out-of-the-box, team-up and do more effective outreach, or enable Overseas Vote to do so.

    Were you one of the American voters who did not vote? Your vote was missed! Per the OCPA report, the “top 10” countries from which overseas voters are voting are Canada, UK, Mexico, France, Japan, Australia, Israel, Germany, Italy, and South Korea.

    "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." Franklin D. Roosevelt

    With less than 2 months remaining to vote in the U.S. Midterm Elections, now is the time to act! This election will decide the composition and balance of power within Congress. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested.

    YOU are eligible to vote: if you are a US citizen, over 18 years on election day. Voting is based on where you last lived in the United States, or if born overseas where your parents last lived.

  • NEW! Overseas Vote "Widget"

    Overseas Voter Registration and Ballot Request Widget

    Offer US Citizens abroad and/or Uniformed Services members and their families the possibility to register to vote and request their directly from your website!

    Here’s how to add interactive service value to your own site, specifically for overseas voters and Uniformed Services members and their families. The Overseas Vote “widget” tool can be installed in minutes and put the registration and ballot request wizard at your users’ fingertips – without leaving your website. The Overseas Vote Widget will enable your organization to increase the accessibility of voting to American citizens living, studying, working and serving abroad.

    Whether you are a local election official, a study abroad program manager or an overseas citizens organization, or any kind of voter outreach or civic engagement organization, you can now impact voter turnout directly from you own website! Access to the Overseas Vote Widget is granted to approved applicants only. Request Access today!

  • 2018 American Midterm Election — ‘Vote in Honor of Veterans’

    “The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.”   George S. Patton Jr.

    As American citizens, we have many privileges.  One is voting.  The right to vote is a fundamental aspect of American politics. To cast a ballot most states require you to register to vote by your state’s deadline.

    Over the years, many states have added a program for registered voters, called VOTE IN HONOR OF A VETERAN.  A wonderful program to honor the men and women who fight for the freedom of all Americans and citizens around the world. 

  • Announcing the 2018 "Study Abroad & Vote! ToolKit"

    American students are increasingly taking part in Study Abroad programs. During the 2015-2016 school year, the growth rate of students studying abroad was 3.8%. Of those 325,339 students, how many realized that they carried with them their right to vote?[1]

    U.S. students take part in summer, semester-long, or even entire school year programs to study in countries spanning Europe and Asia. The vast majority of these young men and women are of voting age and in this time of razor-thin margins in so many races, their votes could swing entire elections. In 2016, Donald Trump won Wisconsin by just over 20,000 votes and in 2008 Barack Obama won Indiana by just under 30,000.

  • Midterms 2018 - Request your Overseas Ballot

    By Andee Goldman, Overseas Vote, Regional Representative; contact: votingfromabroad@gmail.com

    Many overseas Americans are unaware that they can vote in the 2018 Federal Midterm Elections. Some don’t think their vote even matters, or that it is too hard.

    You are eligible to vote: if you are a US citizen, 18 years old or older on Election Day, and eligible in your state.  Midterm elections in 2018 will decide the composition and balance of power within congress. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested.

    Why should you vote?

  • "EVERY CITIZEN IS A VOTER" - Diary of a Fundraiser

    The Last Day of this campaign

    Dear Friends and Supporters -

    It has been an incredible journey, this first crowdfunding effort. Our Every Citizen is a Voter campaign proved itself as a compelling force which could drive a vision and action in many individuals. The Diary itself became its own adjunct project that brought in many fascinating and beautifully composed contributions. And I personally enjoyed keeping in touch all of you who are sustaining us.

    We raised $21,483 and it was an amazing experience.

    I have learned, there is never a time when you have nothing to give. You may not have money, per se, but you always have the Currency of the Thank You. That is the chief currency of U.S. Vote Foundation and our Overseas Vote Initiative. There is more gratitude here than I could ever have imagined. The most wonderful task of my day is to say thank you, over and over for the contributions our team, our advisors, our board members and all of the Friends of the Foundation - YOU.

  • The Key to Powerful Voting Apps: Good, Curated Election Data

    NEW! Civic Data API and Hosted Systems Website Goes Live

    US Vote’s new Civic Data and Hosted Systems Products and Services website welcomes civic tech developers, voter outreach organizations, and elections specialists to review and request API access to the data sets and systems that US Vote offers.

    The US Vote data sets include Election Dates and Deadlines, State Voting Requirements, Local Election Official Contact data, and Voting Methods and Options. The new site also presents US Vote’s custom Hosted Systems Solutions, most widely used for overseas voter outreach.