Johnson announces $430,000 grant to benefit military and overseas voters
FEB. 13, 2012
LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan has received a grant of more than $430,000 from the
Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) to make improvements that will benefit
those who vote absentee, especially military and overseas voters,
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced today.
The $431,514 Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections grant awarded to the
state is for software development that will allow election officials to
electronically create, process and track ballots for all absentee voters. It
will also pay for communications to raise awareness of Michigan's voter
registration and absentee ballot options among military and overseas voters.
Improvements are expected to be in place in time for November's presidential
"The grant will help ensure participation by military and overseas voters by
allowing us to upgrade our technology related to the absentee ballot process,"
Johnson said. "This is an exciting development as we strive toward more secure
and fair elections in Michigan."
The grant money will allow the Bureau of Elections to assist between 600 and
800 smaller jurisdictions in moving to an electronic absentee ballot tracking
system, Johnson said. Those jurisdictions will be able to do away with
time-consuming manual processes and enter absentee voter information directly
into the state's Qualified Voter File by computer, which previously was not an
Voters registered in those jurisdictions will now be able to check the progress
of their absentee ballot applications and the Bureau of Elections will receive
absentee ballot data from all local election officials instantly and accurately.
Elections staff will have the resources needed to expand outreach to military
and overseas voters as a result of the grant, Johnson said. Emphasis will be
placed on identifying these voters and obtaining email addresses from them,
because people tend to keep the same email address even when their location
changes. Election reminders and other information can then be sent to Michigan's
military and overseas voters to ensure that they have the opportunity to
"Changes that make it easier for a servicemember to be involved in the voting
process are certainly beneficial," said Capt. Corissa Barton, a spokeswoman for
the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "Distance should never
prevent servicemembers from having their votes counted back home."
Johnson thanked Bureau of Elections staff for successfully navigating FVAP's
highly competitive application process to secure a grant for Michigan.
The primary goal of FVAP is to assist uniformed services and overseas voters
in exercising their right to vote so they have an equal opportunity to have
their vote counted.
For more information about office locations, hours and services, visit
www.Michigan.gov/sos. Sign up for the official Secretary of
State Twitter feed at
www.twitter.com/MichSoS and Facebook updates at
Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a
customer service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).
For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at 517-373-2520.
FVAP is the sponsor of the Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections grant for
Michigan over the term of the grant, as appropriate. The content of the
information in Michigan's program does not necessarily reflect the position or
policy of the federal government and no official federal government endorsement
should be inferred.