Will local and state governments eventually conduct elections completely on the Internet? Time will tell. Some jurisdictions are allowing voters in a couple of categories to return their completed absentee ballots electronically.

Two states, Alaska and Arizona, permit some voters to return ballots via email, fax,or Internet upload, says a recent National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) report. A total of 19 states, however, do not allow electronic transmission. Voters in those states are required to turn in completed ballots via postal mail.

The federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) governs the practice of returning voted ballots electronically (via fax, email or Internet upload). UOCAVA provisions apply to voters who may encounter special challenges in obtaining and returning absentee ballots in a timely manner so they meet state deadlines.

UOCAVA is designed to meet the needs of U.S. citizens who are active members of the Uniformed Services the Merchant Marines, and the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also serves their eligible family members and U.S. citizens residing outside the United States.

Military personnel already use Democracy Live’s LiveBallot application to ensure that their completed ballots reach elections officials in time. Democracy Live has been awarded a multi-year contract to provide balloting tools to the public sector through U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance. U.S. Communities is a national cooperative purchasing program.

Fairfax County, Va. is the lead public agency that awarded the contract. Democracy Live won the contract based on the success of its LiveBallot application, which makes it possible for voters with disabilities, military voters and Americans living abroad to access their local ballot materials online through their laptop, tablet or desktop.

Introduced in 2010, LiveBallot has been used and tested in more than 500 elections by U.S. voters in over 96 countries and on every continent. LiveBallot has been funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. military and embassy personnel use the system for overseas voting.

Go here for details on the electronic balloting contract.

The exclusive cooperative pact with Fairfax County provides public agencies and over 6,000 election officials with access to Democracy Live’s team of voting technology and elections experts.

“Participating in this platform furthers Democracy Live’s ability to provide innovative solutions that help election administrators improve operations and save time and resources,” says Bryan Finney, Democracy Live CEO.

Cathy Muse, Director for the Department of Purchasing and Supply Management for Fairfax County, says the contract provides agencies with technology that will help provide balloting services effectively and efficiently.

The initial contract term is for three years with the option to renew the contract for two additional three-year periods. To learn more about the new contract and services available, register to attend a complimentary one-hour webinar at this site. The webinar will be presented Nov. 17 and 19. Go here for details on the webinar.

Webinar speakers will include: Chris Oltmanns / Matt East (Program Manager, U.S. Communities), Cathy Muse (Director for Department of Purchasing and Supply Management, Fairfax County, Va.), George Munro & Paul Caranci / Mark Carter & Todd Bruccheri (Regional Sales Manager, Democracy Live).

Democracy Live, based in Seattle, Wash., was founded in 2007 with the goal of simplifying the voting process. U.S. Communities is a national government purchasing cooperative. It provides government procurement resources and solutions to local and state government agencies, school districts (K-12), higher education institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

U.S. Communities was founded in 1996 as a partnership between the Association of School Business Officials, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors. More than 55,000 registered agencies, education institutions and nonprofits use U.S. Communities’ contracts to procure more than 1.8 billion dollars in products and services annually.

Watch this video to see an overview of the Democracy Live LiveBallot application and how it enables people with disabilities to vote.

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