Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant will represent West Virginia at the Overseas Vote Foundation UOCAVA Summit in Munich, Germany this week.
Voting officials from around the world will discuss UOCAVA (the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) and other election reforms.
West Virginia currently has about 42,000 military and overseas voters who are eligible to cast a ballot in
the 2010 elections.
On the first day of the conference, Secretary Tennant will be part of a panel that will discuss state UOCAVA initiatives. Tennant was invited to participate because West Virginia is one of the first states to allow military and overseas voters to cast an absentee ballot using a secure website. Several other states including Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and South Carolina also allow some method of online voting. The panel will also include the Secretaries of State from California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maine. The Director of Election Initiatives from the Pew Center on the States will moderate the panel discussion.
“I am looking forward to representing West Virginia and showing the world how we are emerging as a leader not only in the elections process but also overseas absentee voting,” Tennant said. “Our online voting pilot program is a step in the right direction. It is safe and secure, provides secrecy for online voters, and makes sure overseas voters and members of the military have the chance to exercise their rights as Americans no matter where in the world they are. ”
The conference will also feature representatives from all branches of the United States Military, who will discuss the history of overseas voting and how it can be improved. The federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act will also be analyzed and its implications debated.
A representative from the US State Department will also show elections officials how to better communicate with voters using new media, especially social media.
Tennant also traveled to Taiwan with other secretaries as part of a NASS (National Association of Secretaries of State) delegation.
Not only is Tennant traveling to represent West Virginia, secretaries from around the country will be traveling to the Mountain State in 2011 for the annual NASS conference.