EAC Awards $500,000 to Improve Voting Accessibility for Military Heroes
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is the winner; partners include Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation and Operation Bravo Foundation
WASHINGTON- The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has selected the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) as the winner of the Military Heroes Initiative grant competition. The $500,000 grant seeks to improve voting technology and processes for military service members who have sustained disabling injuries in combat operations.
“This grant will provide valuable insight into the voting experience for injured military members. We’ll learn more about the complications these injured service men and women are experiencing as they exercise their right to vote,” said EAC Chair Donetta Davidson. “The practical recommendations from this research will also benefit the millions of civilian voters with disabilities across our nation.”
ITIF will partner with the Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation, a leading research institute with extensive experience working with military institutions and conducting accessibility research, and Operation Bravo Foundation, a pioneer in developing voting alternatives for military and overseas citizens.
Through a study of all aspects of the voting process, ITIF and its partners will evaluate and offer recommendations to improve the voting needs for military personnel with disabilities. In addition to assessing current voting technologies, services and processes, ITIF will review alternative ballot delivery and return methods and perform user-focused studies to identify technologies with the greatest potential to eliminate barriers to accessible voting. Their recommendations will be delivered by early 2012 for potential use in the 2012 federal election.
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and, more recently, the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, recognized the necessity for improving the voting process for people with disabilities and military personnel. The Military Heroes Initiative will help further these vital goals. Funding from this grant comes from appropriations made available under the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (P.L. 111-8).
EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act. EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The three EAC commissioners are Donetta Davidson, chair; Gracia Hillman; and Gineen Bresso. There is one vacancy on the commission.
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