The Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) 2020 Post-Election Report to Congress confirms that the program’s efforts continue to contribute to voter success among absent military members, their families, and U.S. citizens abroad in the 2020 General Election. During the presidential election year, FVAP continued to expand awareness and use of voting assistance resources while reducing voting obstacles for active duty military personnel and overseas citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
After every federal general election, FVAP conducts post-election surveys and analyzes state and federal election data to evaluate the experience of military and overseas voters — and the impact that FVAP and DoD voting resources have on their experience. This research provides key indicators about military voters, U.S. citizens living overseas, Voting Assistance Officers, and election officials during the 2020 General Election.
“The 2020 election cycle represented a unique set of challenges and opportunities for FVAP, just as it did for the community of election administrators across the United States,” said FVAP Director David Beirne. “We were pleased to see that FVAP assistance continued to bolster UOCAVA voters’ success and that voters heeded calls to request and return their absentee ballots earlier.”
Highlights from the 2020 Report to Congress
- The 2020 voter registration rate for ADM was 69 percent, a three-point increase from 2016.
- The 2020 voter participation rate for ADM was 47 percent, on par with the 46 percent voter participation rate for the 2016 General Election.
- The 2020 estimated voter participation rate for overseas citizens was 7.8 percent, equivalent to the estimated voter participation rate for the 2016 General Election.
- Active duty military (ADM) who received assistance from a DoD resource (FVAP, Unit Voting Assistance Officers, Installation Voter Assistance Offices) were significantly more likely to submit an absentee ballot than ADM who did not receive DoD assistance. This consistent finding across the last five General Elections (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020) speaks to the importance and effectiveness of efforts by FVAP and the military Services to raise awareness of available resources and provide direct assistance.
- UOCAVA voters requested their ballots earlier than they did in 2016, and general election voted ballots were returned earlier than they were in the 2016 and 2018 General Elections.
- The most frequently reported challenge experienced by U.S. voters living overseas was difficulty with international mail systems.
For 2022, FVAP will continue its work to reduce barriers for UOCAVA voters to successfully vote absentee and increase awareness about voting among the UOCAVA population. Pursuant to Executive Order 14019, FVAP will support expanded opportunities to raise awareness on voting resources for all DoD personnel to include both absentee voting and traditional registration and voting opportunities, including offering assistance materials in alternative languages as appropriate.
View the full 2020 Post-Election Report to Congress here.
For more information on FVAP or assistance with the absentee voting process, visit FVAP.gov, call FVAP at 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584 (CONUS)/312-425-1584 (OCONUS), or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, you also can contact your unit or installation voting assistance officers for assistance during any step of the process. Find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/DoDFVAP, on Twitter @FVAP, and on Instagram at fvapgov