tv Voter Outreach Forum - Military Service Members and Their Families CSPAN June 1, 2018 9:00am-9:48am EDT
in 2018 and 2020 we'll see a different type of election process going forward. with that, i want to thank you again and my panelists for being here today and turn it over to maria. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you for a wonderful panel. thank you for a wonderful panel. that was really engaging conversation. our next panel starts at 9:45 and we'll make that transition and panelists if you'd like to head on up to the stage that would be great. thank you. >> thank you. thank you. . this forum held by the national association of secretaries of state continues now with the discussion about
voter outreach efforts to active duty military service members, their families and people living overseas. this is 45 minutes. we are in charge of making sure they're aware of various resources they can recognize their right to vote from anywhere in the world. so i'm moderating this morning's panel on improving the voting process for overseas voters, active duty military and veterans. and i think we have some esteemed panelists here to walk through kind of the innovations that are going on both from a technical standpoint, a policy standpoint and also an outreach
standpoint. just for some background in terms of the military population, this represents 1.7 million potential eligible family members and active duty sponsors who are looking for -- to make sure they can exercise their right to vote from anywhere in the world. we know the average age is roughly 21 and they go through various career milestones whether changing duty station, whether they're getting ready for predeployment, post-deployment and reintegration or transitioning out of their career in active duty. all of those milestones are trigger points for ensuring their voting rights are being maintained and whether they're updating their voter registration information, updating their ballot information, using the federal postcard application, which is prescribed by the department of defense, to make sure they are cued up, regardless of where their duty station is to automatically receive ballots for federal elections. oftentimes there is a focus boots on the ground.
i recognize especially before the election officials that the boots are really on the ground with them. they are the front line in terms of administering our elections and what they do to support our military. so it's my honor to be here this morning with this panel. the other thing i wanted to point out was really the challenge that we see in the demographics of the military. i mentioned the average age of 21. you can only imagine as we approach 2018 and 2020. that recently enlisted junior service member who is fresh and overwhelmed with their other responsibilities and other functions, career and aspirations that voting is often the last thing that comes into their mind. and i think that's what ties in with the theme this morning and this whole day, which is how do you engage this portion of the population? in addition to that, you have a lot of complexity when it comes to administering state law and understanding for that average junior enlisted personnel, what is their state of residence?
where do they go to submit their absentee ballot application? so i think with today's panel we will hear some of those interesting insights, best practices and some of what they are seeing in terms of perhaps even how the department of defense can improve its product offering to its customers. so let's get started. i wanted to introduce all of the panel that we have here today. starting with my left. we have secretary paul pate. he was elected to serve as the 32nd iowa secretary of state. he served from 1995 to 1999. he's worked for making voting easier by instituting online registration and initiatives to help veterans and iowans with disabilities to vote. to his left we have mr. mike queen. he is the deputy chief of staff and director of communications for the office of secretary of state matt warner of west virginia. he's a former member of the west virginia legislature and a career public relations
professional with more than 30 years' experience. mike is the proud father of ben who at the age of 22 is currently one of the youngest members of the legislature. good to see it runs in the family. >> ben's dad. >> and then, finally, but certainly not least to his left we have mr. kalisa, he's the director of the programming at the council of state government. overseas voting initiative and in collaboration with the u.s. department of defense federal assistance program. i've had the pleasure of working with him over the last four or five years. the council stale government overseas initiative convenes and supports working adviser groups that promotes best practices and data standard solutions to improve the voting process and support research for over 5 million overseas, and please, a round of applause for our panelists. [ applause ]
>> as we'll have a similar structure, i'll tee up a few questions for each of the members. i already encouraged cross talk amongst the panels just to engage and hear what each has to say and how it might tie in with their own experiences to maximize your time and value. i will start us off with a question to all of you, based on the federal voting assistance 2017 report to congress which admittedly i know none of you read it up until this homework assignment, but that's okay, we're used to that, what state policies and procedures have been the most effective in your estimation at improving the uniformed and overseas citizens absentee voting act, the broad enabling statute that guarantees protections for our military and overseas citizens during the voting process? >> i'll start by telling, i read it three times actually and all
the notes and the margins and everything else. i just want to say that having served i call it the recycle if you will because of my earlier years of secretary of state and coming back into the position i have a perspective to compare to where we were at 20 years ago, frankly, and then today, i think we are making significant progress. the key thing here is trying to get us all in a consistent way to measure what we're doing i think would help so we know if we're making progress. for our state and iowa, we have three distinct audiences. we look at the guard as our probably larger audience for us because we don't have a lot of military bases, so we don't have the same perhaps you might see in other states so we have the guard and we still try to reach out to the traditional and then the families. that's the one i intend on growing more here in the future because quite often they are
better at communicating and influencing their spouses or loved ones to remember to vote and what elections are coming pup. that's our focal point if you will in the future. we did spend some time extending the voting period. we passed a submarine bill, what we called it, to move the voting out to 120 days for those overseas and hazard pay areas. there's not a mailbox at every corner when stationed in some of these isolated areas and that's going to be a big push. we're right now about 80% of the folks who request an avocado -- that would be okay too -- i missed breakfast -- ukava ballot system. going through that process. we're happy with that. i think it's a big step, but we don't know what our total audience number is. that's the numbers that ask for one and based on that we know 80% returned it.
i'm looking forward to finding out a better way to know how big is our audience and what pieces of that is our audience, what is the family members, what are the guard and others. so i think that's going to be a good beginning as we take some of these suggestions. i circled your five points we had here. i'm watching that one too. five or eight. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -- 7. so it's seven points that we're looking forward to -- because i think they will help us immensely. >> secretary pate did give me the head's up he might reverse course and make himself the moderator and have me just answer questions as to what department is doing. mr. mcqueen. >> in west virginia our secretary of state is a career military professional who after west point and law school, spent 23 years in the military stationed in hot spots throughout europe and then five years in afghanistan, so as a chief elections officer for west virginia when it came time to
looking at and really focusing on voters, many of which are in submarines, under the ocean or in hot spots or caves or tents in a desert somewhere, not able to return their ballot even though they had requested one, that 20% who request a ballot wanted to vote but didn't vote. so why is that? so secretary warner on a number of occasions wanted to vote but couldn't himself, so under the guidelines that we've been given and under the opportunity to work with a number of different organizations, we talked about the defending digital democracy project at harvard and the collaboration with many other secretaries here in this room and with nass. secretary warner was able to champion this military mobile voting solution that we just
employed for the may 8th primary election. we don't have all of the details done but on your tables is a report, early report, coming out the first deployment, if you will, of a military mobile voting solution in the country focused on voters. the pilot project white paper is also on your table as well as the initial findings. there's a comprehensive audit that still needs to be done. you will notice that there were 13 -- this is a very small subset pilot, just in two counties, we obviously know that mobile voting has been on the minds of secretaries and chief election officers for a very long time as well as constituency groups for a very long time. we thought that the mobile voting focus was a way to kind of get that started. we advocated after a lot of
discussion and some concern, we advocated a partnership with bradley tusk which helped fund this pilot project in west virginia. lance is here with me today representing tusk montgomery philanthropies for any questions you may have. the opportunity for mobile voting i think addresses that immediately it begins to address that number of military personnel and families who requested a ballot but did not turn it back in. they requested the ballot but for some reason, were not able to turn it back in. secretary warner has been part of that over his career in the military because he simply couldn't get to the mail, the mail couldn't get to him, and this mobile voting solution may be, may be an opportunity for most of us to use. i know that's a real limited
focus to the question director, but in this case, we're pretty proud of the fact that we were able to kick the project off to get it started. we're watching it very closely and hope that you and your states will help us monitor it as we progress. by the time that the nass summer conference takes place, we hope to have a more comprehensive report including a comprehensive audit on the blockchain technology that was used, so i encourage you to attend. there's a plug for nass. to attend the summer conference at which time we hope to have a more comprehensive opportunity to brief you on the success or challenges of this mobile military voting app that we employed a couple weeks ago. >> given the level of innovation we will be coming back to a specific question about your experiences with that. what would you like to share. >> thank you, david. my name is kamanzi kalisa, with
the council of state governments. it represents all three branches of state government so these are the governors in all 50 states, legislators, state agencies and judges. we provide cutting-edge policy research in all policy areas, health care, education, and now elections since 2014. before i came on board with the council of state governments, i worked with the secretary of state in georgia and i headed up their head america vote act program. we gave a lot of money, guidance, and information to our counties that do administer the elections. i had a lot of interactions with military voting in the process and some of the challenges. i am very visual. leslie, the slide i want to show you guys will kind of speak to kind of what i'm going to get into and we'll talk about throughout this panel. so this is a good map of the universe. i think we always talk about we get in a habit of talking about policies and practices, but we forget the people, the actual people affected.
so you see we have a universe of about 5 million plus. these are active duty military. these are civilian u.s. citizens that work abroad and their families. as you can see they're everywhere as far as australia, in asia, europe. obviously most of them are in the western hemisphere like canada and mexico. but this gives you a real visual to what david was saying earlier. a lot of people are in remote areas and they don't have the same access to information that our stateside voters have. they don't have the same -- they can't just show up to an actual polling location or elections office to get clarifying information. showing you the distance there. david referenced this earlier, we're pretty much talking about a young universe of voters. over 60% of our military overseas voters are under age 30 and under. so they have this, right. so they shop online, they date
online, they bank online. so their expectations for elections is pretty much the same. so they look at our system stateside and they're like why can't we do this, why can't we do this, access, access, access. i think again who we're talking about and as david said earlier, we're talking about a very male -- most of these voters are male, too, as well, male under 30 living abroad. just the process. i think we need to see kind of illustrative point all that goes into an election. so every state has different eligibility rules and guidelines. you got to register to vote. registration has to be accepted or rejected and then request the ballot and get the ballot and complete the ballot. i mean so as you can see, that's for everybody. stateside and overseas. imagine if you're in france, if you're in africa, wherever, and this is kind of the process. so when the department of defense came to the council of state governments four years ago, it was like well, this is the system, this is the
paradigm, what we're operating under how do we get the participation rates of our overseas voters up. how do we improve that process. so all of you should have -- this is a handout that captures the work we've been doing the past four years at the council of state governments. we have really good recommendations that we're putting out to the states. a lot of states have implemented this. the source of the information were actually the states. election administrators who were secretary of state, county registrars and all the counties and states where you have military voters. california, texas, florida, washington state, they have a lot of experience with this universe of voters. we'll get into this later, about some of the specifics. i wanted to set the background and context for who we're talking about and what we're talking about. >> thank you. i can speak from the department of defense standpoint the participation rate issue is a sensitive one. we are like election officials
in which we are not a get out the vote operation. we're about raising awareness and making sure resources are there but want to identify if there's something ongoing and systemically wrong with the process. and how complicated it might be. my next question in terms of in 2009 the military and overseas voter empowerment act was passed and when that was passed it came with some other requirements, one which was the requirement to dispatch ballots no later than 45 days prior to a federal election to offer electronic means of transmitting blank ballots to our military and overseas citizens. secretary pate, you mentioned the extension to 120 days. i'm curious for our panelists, what are you seeing in terms of the broader utilization of e-mail, blank ballot delivery, the effectiveness of it, share some of your observations. >> as i said earlier our primary audience is more the national guard and because of the fact that when they deploy we are
aggressive and working with the guard to make sure they have their absentee ballot process in place. we tend to still have a pretty decent turnout on that premise so we don't have as many people doing it electronically, but he's still there and our -- each of our county auditors are set up to be able to process those. of course, it's the falloff sometimes in making sure they have a full ballot, not just the federal candidates, so we continue to partner with that. the -- but again, as i said earlier, we are still wrestling with are we getting the true audience. i can measure my guard because the national guard tell us how many people are deployed, so i know that there's -- if i have a thousand guard out there somewhere and we get a certain return back, then we know we've done our job. i do not know from the defense department exactly how many of the more traditional military are out there nor do we know who is a contractor or missionary work.
so i'm hoping to develop more and better communication to get that information. >> and i think i'll take that for action in terms of what we can do to better support and provide data, give you an understanding of the active duty population and nuance that comes with guard members. those of you not understanding there's a nuance between guard members on state orders versus federal orders. more and more as our guards are being utilized for various mission, the texas border under federal orders they become subject to protections as we call them. i applaud certainly your efforts there because we've seen that really pay dividends in terms of that level of engagement at the state level because once they are deployed or mobilized they are then just regular absentee voters. >> and that's a really challenge, perhaps, as well. the secretary is correct in it's difficult to know how many voters to be -- and the issue
of -- to expand a little bit secretary pate brought up, the issue of the local ballots, being able to have a ballot that is -- that reflects exactly where where that particular voter is registered and more and more cities, municipalities taking advantage of same-day election as our state elections to cut down on their costs we see that municipal ballots change per precinct. in west virginia 55 counties, 55 county clerks, 55 local election officials and 1768 precincts and 232 municipalities in a little state that has 1.2 million registered voters. it's a real challenge to make sure the right ballot gets to the right place. >> with my position i travel quite a bit and i go out into the field and meet a lot of election administrators and there is, david, a lot of satisfaction about that system. i also travel to a military base installations, been to really
big ones like camp pendelton and the naval air station on the florida panhandle and talk to their voting action officers that deal with members of their military and kind of their experiences with voting. they think that, again, some of those improvements and those developments have been helpful. >> excellent. so now is my time where i challenged you to come up with a deep technical analysis and explanation of blockchain voting in three minutes or less, but actually here's the question, you've implemented a block chain voting pilot you mentioned for military members and their spouses, for military members only is that correct? or for military members and spouses. >> and spouses. >> does the new technology change any of the discussions we heard about cyber security, since you're kind of on a front line if you will in terms of innovative pilot, any interesting observations you can share in terms of the implementation and what are the factors you are considering when looking at its continued usage for the general election?
>> it is absolutely an issue of cyber security. that is a critical component of the very thorough step-by-step process secretary warner put into place working with votes and the test group in making sure that the system that utilizes biometrics with your phone, it also has a backup challenge that there is a printed ballot that's created in a lock box, a digital lock box if you will, making sure that we can continue to have that printed ballot backup ballot, cyber security has been a real issue and that's been the biggest criticism to date of any type of mobile voting solution. the subset of voters made it i think easier for us because we picked two small counties, we actually had 13 voters to participate. you can see from the -- from the
scenario that i provided to you that those came from canada, the uk, italy, japan, new zealand, and it was a difficult task for us to make sure that we could reassure not only the voter, but the press and the media that this was a safe solution to use. frankly, we were teasing earlier, i didn't know if blockchain was one word or two when this started. but it has a significant impact. it could have a significant impact on the future of voting, not only for military voters, but for disabled voters, for folks who are sheltered in or it may become the status quo one day. for now, we're focused on military voters who have a cell phone, but don't have access to a fax machine or regular postal
service. i think everyone in this room and everyone in west virginia, the west virginians are very patriotic state, we understand the significance of secretary warner's pilot project here and what he wanted to do and what we hoped to achieve. the comprehensive audit of the blockchain that will take place here in the next 60 days will give us an opportunity to see if that blockchain in any way for a small set now, it's just 13 voters, but if it was any way attempted to be hacked or any type of cyber security issue that would have to be addressed before november general election at which time secretary warner hopes to make it an option for those other 53 counties in our state that may want to use it. we're not there yet. but we will be soon, we hope. that's when we hope we will be able to have that audit completed and more information back to the other secretaries and to the state departments to be able to evaluate as well. >> great.
>> and well with kamanzi's efforts of state government. i will come to you and perhaps you can touch on the electronic signature issue because i think that also ties in some of the innovation and what might be forward looking. the council of state governments spent the past several years on overseas voting initiatives. what are some of the effective practices to assist voters you've been able to clean from your working groups and are any states employing any new practices for 2018. >> thanks, david. i will break that up into two sections. one from a policy perspective and another from a technology perspective. in terms of policy a lot of states have started using their websites to target members of the military and civilian overseas voters. that's a way of communicating when you're in another country. they have active now if you look on twitter, active social media accounts. i know secretary huested, he's
not here, from ohio has an active centric sort of twitter activity. he's always sending out deadlines. if you're not registered to vote and a member of the military. all these reminders and updates and sharing information. they don't have the same access to information. speaking in plain language, whether it's on -- in writing in all of your voter guides, websites, anything that you're sitting out, just making sure that you're communicating in normal ways and not in legalese. in terms of on-line voter registration it has been a gift to this community. you can do services like registering to vote and requesting a ballot on-line and that makes it easier for those that aren't stateside. about 40 states have on-line voter registration and more will probably do that. so that's a really good trend. that's a recommendation that we put out there for states to continue to do. partner from another policy perspective, partnerships at the state and local level. there are a lot of county
election supervisors who have relationships with military installations in their jurisdictions where they incentivize and some have -- make sure they want good representation of veterans or full-time election officials in their office. so, again, they always have that perspective there. that perspective is not lost. we put that as a recommendation other states and localities if you can incentivize or make sure that voice is brought into not just on election day but day-to-day, year-round staffing that would be really good. from a technology perspective we had three really good recommendations we put out there and i think states are kind of taking heed to it. one relates to the common access card. as many of you know the department of defense is the largest employer in the world. over 3 million employees. and so if you are a member of the military, you have a common access card. that's your way of verifying your identity. a digital signature component
with this card. our working group of election administrators put forth the recommendation that common access card should be experimented or piloted or used in the overseas voting process. that's one -- i had that visual where you saw the multiple steps in voting. if again, sort of like my phone, members of the military if they are broad, and they have a common access card, they use it for all sorts of things. why not include voting in that process. it's secure. this is the era of security. why not consider that. it's again makes for really good access. two more points, david. ballot duplication. many people are not aware, but nothing really nefarious or evil but things just happen when a ballot comes to a county to be counted, sometimes the ballot is wrinkled or something just happened with the nature of the travel and it's not able to be tabulated in a normal system. and so it has to be hand-tabulated or whatever.
but some counties and states don't have standardized ballot duplication practices. now that can be a real minutia and administrative, but it's important if you want to make sure all votes are counted that states have clear guidelines on how they tabulate these ballots that have been damaged and making sure that they're duplicated properly to be read into the tabulation machine like the other ballots. the last one data standardization. to me this is a very important one. working in georgia i got to see how the election system works really up close, and states, because they run elections, states and basically do things differently, so in georgia, we had a voter registration system and election management system and we would track our military and overseas voters differently than our neighbors in the south or nationally. in our system we made a distinction between a military voter and a civilian overseas voter. we would make that distinction in our system. other states don't.
they're just listed in a general block. and so when it comes to analysis when talking about analyzing data and talking about analyzing the behavior of these voters we want to make sure we have an apples to apples comparison and not ap -- apples to oranges. we're talking about how we track these voters making sure they're tracking them using the same categories that all the states do. again, the end result is so we can have really good analysis of this universe to see the successes, the fails, to really get there. but we can't get there if states are tracking or categorizing things differently. >> and the big difference with the data standardization piece, it's at the customer level versus just the state reporting or counties reporting data? >> correct. >> great. i wanted to also dovetail into an interesting and innovative outreach initiative for secretary pate.
we talked about the military life cycle and one of the biggest ones is transitioning out of active duty into a veteran status and what that means in terms of ensure your voting rights are protected and secretary pate i will turn it over to you to outline what i understand is an interesting initiative you have. >> well, i do. we -- starting dealing with about 300,000 iowans who have some type of a disability and a significant part are military veterans. and we talked about trying to track and determine numbers, well, this is another audience that's very hard to have those numbers as well, but we established a veterans outreach person who actually would go and interact with the various veteran groups as well as the other disabled community representatives and trying to define better what their hurdles are, what their challenges are. we did a series of outreaches across the state and we continue to do it.
what we found, we needed to give them some tools and may have been just basic things we took for granted too often, but we developed a simple handout that pointed out some key things such as curbside voting. that was one of the biggest, one of the biggest things. it amazes me how many people do not know that it's a service available and when we have several significant part of our population who have some types of issues with anxieties or ptsd who aren't comfortable going into a voting site, this is something that we can offer and so we've put a lot of extra effort into training our poll workers and our local county jurisdictions to put that service out there. in fact, we added another component and again these are simple steps but every simple step helps us get closer to the goal. more permanent signage, so that you put it up there where you can drive up to the curb and this is where you would do it from the voting. those were rewarding.
i have a few slides if you don't mind me showing them, it shows us our outreach to the national guard for deployments. we will send our staff there to help get them signed up for their absentee processes and so we do that as one of our big components. that's been very successful and then the other is a disabilities program i mentioned. we are continuing to do that. we are going to expand on it this year with more programming, with the disability communities. i think there's one more. there we go. see what we have. a short video we also use in our social media. ♪ >> my goal as iowa's secretary of state and commissioner of elections is for every iowan to -- who is eligible to register to vote and participate in our elections.
there are some members of our community who can use assistance in voting. my office has made a concerted effort this year to help military veterans and iowans with disabilities to register to vote and to participate in the upcoming election. the thing that we hear the most is that people with disabilities don't feel like their voice is being heard. one of the easiest ways to make that voice heard is by voting. not just in presidential election years, but in school board and city elections and any time an issue that impacts your community is on the ballot. >> people with disabilities make up the large minority in iowa it encompasses all and crosses all demographic statuses. >> it's important for us to remember that not all disabilities are physical ailments. far too many of our troops are returning from overseas
with ptsd and other anxiety disorders. >> dylan served as an iowa national guardsman deploying to iraq in 2007 and 2008. with the 168 infantry unit. after much turmoil, dylan had become suicidal and was taken to the v.a., where he would ultimately be diagnosed with post traumatic stress. four months later, december 10th, 2012, dylan would complete suicide and end his life. as dylan's loved ones before his death, we his family witnessed some of the mental anguish dylan went through. although for the first 11 months we did not know it had a name, post-traumatic stress. a few weeks ago when i would learn from secretary pate someone with these type of disabilities and other mental
health issues could feel comfortable to vote from their vehicle, and never have to get out of their comfort zone, i was thrilled. ♪ >> thank you. the key here was, we had two communities that crossed over. when you talk abe the general disability community and the military veterans and i think it was very beneficial to bring -- put a face on it because it's one that is often in the shadows and we're going to continue to expand on that and i think our -- the next step is actually the harder one. we began the first one by just identifying who all the parties were on that issue but the military one is a large one. when you look at the various wars and campaigns, the age
differences, so that we are continuing to try to develop strategies to help in that capacity. >> i would like to applaud -- that video is fantastic in terms of providing context and a reminder for myself while we can talk about transition, those transitioning most immediately but our elderly veterans for a number of reasons, brought up earlier in terms of when you might incur a disability, and how much that access is going to be important both for those recently transitioned, wounded warriors, but then also, you know, the sensitivity we have for our veterans at large. definitely applaud those efforts. i think i wanted to leave some time for questions, but i think the big tie-in for me hearing all of the content today and bringing it all together is, really about knowing your customers. understanding the need for communication, the usability aspect, all of this ties in together and i think ties in with the message from a previous panel as well. so with that i wanted to open up the floor for any questions
from folks in terms of anything in terms of the department of defense's program, military engagement. or we can proceed with another question or two from the panelists. leslie, i don't see you getting up with a question. >> well, i can! >> be oh, we've got one coming. >> good morning. christy noogan from michigan. thank you so much for the great tip on expanding curbside voting. i do a lot of training in michigan and that is one of the things we've been upsizing this year but haven't expanded that thought to taking care of our voters where the anxiety or ptsd issues may not want them to enter a polling place. that will be something i definitely add and take home. with that, i would like to address the mobile voting and in
michigan we can send, obviously, the blank ballot electronically but require that the voter return that physically and so if any of you could address any sort of lobbying or guidance as far as changing the hearts and minds of folks that make the laws in each state to encourage the return of a voted ballot electronically, we have very good duplication procedures in michigan, very standardized, but -- so we would be comfortable with that, but i think it's more of a change in law that would have to occur. if you have any thoughts on that i would appreciate it. >> we have a very proactive, pro-military legislature in west virginia. like michigan, it's made it accommodating for us to explore this. you know, the return of the
ballot and the biometric portion of the voting app where you take a picture of yourself and then you take a thumb print, there is a real security issue when you request a ballot, get it and vote it, goes into a digital lockbox for that clerk, that county clerk then opens it, on election night and ballots are then printed up. the other part is so that voter doesn't lose their identity in that process. i guess in west virginia, like you suggested for michigan, we have a proactive legislature that has given us the flexibility to accommodate this type of voting with that type of a ballot. i don't know about the other states or about the state department, david, if there would be any additional requirements posted there. >> not to my understanding. about 24 states that allow for
e-mail return of voted ballots and from our standpoint at the department of defense it's really just to recognize that the risk is really borne by the states. in years past the department had been a little bit more engaged on this issue from various congressional requirements to investigate internet voting if you will or electronic return. at this point we recognize that that's really a state calculation and that's really where the leadership comes in to recognize, you know, what would be the potential impact to the ability to certify or canvas the election results. >> i would just add that, you know, we embrace that as well in our state. it's somewhat like a cycle or pendulum. since i served back in '98 and back to now, we were -- if i would wind the clock back to '98 we thought by now we would all be voting by our telephones. literally. we did. and, of course, we've all seen what's changed over the years. we are now dialing back somewhat if you will to take a harder
look at the cyber security, wanting to make sure we're watching the integrity side and in fairness to military, probably the easiest if i had to take a step forward in wanting to embrace and doing all these things we talked about because they have a pretty extensive process, you know, as far as their i.d. process that their i.d. cards are one of the best around and more assured that they are who they say they are when they're voting. but it's -- the pendulum swings to some extent and i think right now many of us in our states are trying to deal with both. wanting to move forward with the technology, but also trying to make sure that we're keeping the integrity on track as well. but i'm optimistic that we will have much more within the next few years, but just like putting all the safeguards in place. we need a little time to help educate the public, to assure them that what we're doing is
secure and that's where the help from people like yourselves, we all are in this together and assuring them that we're doing our jobs right and reaching out to get the people to participate and that we're also maintaining the integrity side. they're both -- both important. not mutually exclusive. >> we have one more question. >> my name is zeneda i'm with the all in challenge and work with college administrators and talking about oversea voters we focus on military, but we haven't talked about college students who study abroad. about 300,000 of them that do that every year. i'm wondering what states are doing to encourage those students to participate and if there are any programs where states are working closely with their colleges and universities? >> i can tee this up a little bit. you're correct. most of the focus this morning has been on the military. the overseas citizens population is roughly 3.5 million, larger
than the military and eligible family members. we have our work cut out for us, no one knows where they are. we continue to serve known overseas citizens. in terms of our engagement i have team members who are worldwide going out and visiting state department embassies and consulates, oftentimes they draw the short straw and may be at the florence, italy consulate where there are a number of universities represented. so we do typically see, and that's what we like to see is one point person who arriving from various universities representing them locally and who can help saturate from a communications standpoint and increase their awareness. there's always more room for improvement. and it's a very large population as you're describing. i welcome any thoughts on how best to engage from our perspective as well. state department is a fantastic partner but they can only do so much as well. >> i want to chime in because i said earlier, we don't have military -- significant number of military bases in our state
but it is the college students for us. i have a breakdown by counties, i can tell which ones are the university towns. they're the ones that have a higher number. and one of the things we're looking at seriously is being more aggressive and working with the universities on their various exchange programs. they know they have groups going, so we need to be more aggressive on just like we did the national guard, preparing them as they leave. they're getting a passport, why not make sure they have their setup so they know what their voting options are as well. another education component but a national partnership. we work with universities and colleges on voting registration and voting traditionally so we could easily adapt it to talk about the select audience going from time to time on the trips. >> it's about partnering and understanding where the students
are and whether or not they register -- are registered to vote in the county where the college is located or if they get their registered vote at home. so we would certainly enjoy that opportunity to partner with you on helping us to identify and address those issues. >> well, with that i think we're all out of time. i want to thank leslie and the team at nass for putting this together and inviting us. a round of applause, please, for our panelists. [ applause ] . this forum held by the national association of secretaries of state concluded with a discussion on voter outreach and engagement through social media. we heard remarks from facebook and twitter representatives. this is an hour.