The Department of Defense has awarded San Joaquin County $150,000 out of a $1,831,665 grant to transmit ballots electronically to up to 20,000 Americans stationed or residing in foreign countries so they can vote in the June 2012 primary.
“It is an honor to assist the brave men and women who are serving our country overseas,” said Austin Erdman, San Joaquin County’s registrar of voters, in a recent press release. “Being able to deliver ballots online will greatly improve voting accessibility to military voters who must frequently relocate as a result of their military duties.”
The ballot effort is part of a 13 county coalition, which includes San Joaquin. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase participation of overseas voting, officials said.
Since the percentage of military ballots returned falls far short of those cast domestically, officials believe military personnel will be likely to vote if given the opportunity electronically. By sending the ballots electronically, servicemen and -women are given a one-stop, seamless process in which they can register online, receive notification of ballot availability, ballot access, and track ballot return status.
The coalition, known as Cal E-Promise, is headed by officials in El Dorado County. As the program gets under way, officials in that county will make regular reports on the effectiveness of the project to the Federal Voting Assistance Program.