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Monday, 28th January 2008

Resources of the Week: Election 2008 and Voting

Resources of the Week: Election 2008 and Voting
By Shirl Kennedy, Senior Editor

We are apolitical here at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker. But we do believe that EVERYBODY needs to get out and vote...this year, more than ever. In that spirit, we are offering up a small collection of resources that provide voting information and information about the electoral process in general. Enjoy.

+ Overseas Vote Foundation

Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF) helps overseas and military voters participate in federal elections. We do this by providing public access to innovative voter registration tools and services. If you are an overseas or military voter, OVF’s goal is to make it easy for you to get your ballot and vote.

Overseas American citizens, State Department employees, and active duty uniformed service members and their accompanying families within and outside of the United States vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and can all register to vote from abroad using OVF's services.

OVF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan public charity incorporated in Delaware.

You can actually register to vote here if you are a U.S. Citizen residing or traveling overseas, a member of the active duty uniformed services, or a spouse or dependent. There's also a Election Official Directory, where you can use dropdown menus to locate election office addresses, telephone, fax, email and websites.

Check the State-specific Voter Information Directory, where you can learn about state-by-state filing deadlines, options for how to send and recieve voting information, and contact info for state-level election officials. The site also provides "links to nonpartisan, independent organizations which provide candidate information."
+ Find the full text of the Uniformed And Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) at the U.S. Department of Defense's Federal Voting Assistance Program website. Here you can also find a convenient interactive map that offers state-by-state electronic transmission alternatives to voting by mail. Other information here includes:

+ USA.gov offers a large section of Voting and Elections information, including how to contact elected officials, info and educational materials about voting and elections in the United States, info about registering to vote and voting, and how to volunteer and/or otherwise contribute to the voting process.
+ The U.S. Election Assistance Commission

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act (PDF; 272 KB) of 2002 (HAVA). EAC is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information about election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as audits the use of HAVA funds.

Other responsibilities include maintaining the national mail voter registration form developed in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (PDF; 80 KB).

The Voter Information Center is well worth a look, and you can also find out how to become a poll worker, how to design an "effective polling place," and how to file an election-related grievance in your state. Plenty of other stuff here, too, including Research, Resources and Reports.
+ If you're a government drone like yours truly, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel wants you to know about the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity by federal government employees, and by employees of certain state and local government agencies.
+ A UK-born friend of your editor has recently become an American citizen and will be voting in her first U.S. election ever this year. When you try to explain the U.S. electoral process to someone like this, you realize just how byzantine it truly is. The U.S. Government Printing Office's Ben's Guide to Government -- ostensibly for kids -- is actually quite helpful here. I also found a link to a very useful "Browse Topics" GPO page I'd never seen before. Under the Politics and Law topic heading, you'll find a Voting and Elections subtopic, which provides links to information from various government agencies. Very cool.
+ Project Vote Smart provides a succinct list of State Presidential Primary and Caucus Dates.
+ The U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center offers a rich cornucopia of information about the 2008 elections, including everything from transcripts of briefings to how to make hotel reservations for the Democratic and Republican conventions. Also, there's a good list of links about the U.S. elections process.


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