Grant Expands Voting For Military Members
Almost $1.9 million in federal grant money will help the Okaloosa County Elections Office to increase their ability to offer electronic ballots to overseas voters. Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux says the money will be used to bring 21 additional Florida counties into the Our Mission: Your Vote
consortium that he founded in 2010.
With the original federal grant of $1.6 million in 2011, the Our Mission: Your Vote program began as a consortium of 13 Florida Counties who came together to provide access to some of the hardest to reach voters for every federal election through 2016. Now, with the new federal money it brings the total to 34 Florida Counties involved in the program.
The Electronic Absentee Systems for Elections or (EASE) grant is funded by the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The second round of EASE grant money has increased due to the growth in populations being served and the counties joining the consortium. According to Paul Lux, “The Miami-Dade area has brought a lot of bodies to the table.”
Currently, Our Mission: Your Vote serves any voter in the participating jurisdictions (Florida counties of Baker, Bay, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Escambia, Leon, Nassau, Okaloosa, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota or Wakulla) who is an absent uniformed service member, family member, or any overseas civilian (UOCAVA) voter. UOCAVA is the term used for those voters who are covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. This Congressional Act provides special protections and services for any member of the uniformed services, their family members, and any other citizen who lives overseas.