man smiling holding paper and pen up to camera device

NEW! Discover US Vote’s Photo-Signature-Email (PSE) Form Functionality

Before working in software development for elections, the term "whack-a-mole" wasn't in my lexicon. However, as I’ve observed the shift toward online processes in the realm of voting and elections, I've become well-acquainted with it.

One notable transformation is the move of processes like requesting an absentee ballot to online platforms, a change in which the U.S. Vote Foundation has actively participated. The transition to online absentee ballot requests marked a significant advancement, enabling voters to access their state's ballot request process or the Overseas ballot request process conveniently from their own devices.

Our expertise lies in absentee ballot requests, and we also conduct extensive post-election research.Year after year, voters express their primary challenge – dealing with the cumbersome task of printing out absentee ballot request forms.

While it’s great to have the ability to generate ballot requests online, a new challenge emerged – a proverbial game of whack-a-mole. Election offices require the voter’s signature on paper for the ballot request, which meant needed to be printed, scanned, and emailed or posted back to the election office. These final steps proved to be ongoing hurdles.

Repeatedly, our research identified printing as a major problem in the vote-at-home process of absentee ballots. Our Voter Help Desk continually hears complaints about lack of printer access.

Introducing US Vote’s New Photo-Signature-Email (PSE) Form Functionality

We are pleased to announce a potential solution to this printing problem in the absentee ballot request process. U.S. Vote Foundation is rolling out a new technology allowing voters to apply a photo of their handwritten signature to a ballot request online and directly email it to their election office through our system.

U.S. Vote Foundation remains at the forefront of innovative civic technology development for voters.

The new PSE process is already operational for most states for overseas and military voters, with a few exceptions like Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, and New York, which do not accept email ballot requests from overseas voters.

Other states, such as Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin, present additional challenges that we are actively addressing. Nonetheless, overseas and military voters from all other states, and some domestic voters in selected states can currently benefit from this online process with the U.S. Vote Foundation.

Here's a brief overview of how to use this process through the U.S. Vote Foundation absentee ballot request system:

  • First, follow the question flow to complete your absentee ballot request form. We recommend you log in to your Voter Account beforehand is recommended to expedite the process by pre-populating the form with your saved data.
  • After entering the required information, you'll preview your form for accuracy. Then, choose between the classic method of download, print, sign, scan, and email/post or choose the new option of applying your signature and emailing your form through our system.
  • To apply your signature, you can either upload a photo of your signature or take a photo through your device camera. Use a dark pen and sign a piece of white paper as you normally would. Signature consistency is crucial for identity authentication in absentee voting.
  • After your signature is uploaded, you will be able to adjust it. You can flip it in every direction from backwards to forward, or left to right and to resize it to fit properly in the signature box.
  • Then you will continue to preview the email to be sent to your election office and along with the signed form.
  • You will receive a copy of the email that is sent to your election office. If you do not hear from them soon after sending the form, please contact them to make sure they received and process your ballot request form.

We invite input from voters and election officials across the country on this new PSE functionality. Happy voting, everyone!