[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 181 (Tuesday, September 18, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57486-57492]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-22950]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Office of the Secretary

32 CFR Part 233

[DOD-2008-OS-0049]
RIN 0790-AI27


Federal Voting Assistance Program

AGENCY: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and 
Readiness/Federal Voting Assistance Program, DoD.

ACTION: Interim final rule

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SUMMARY: This rule concerns the Federal Voting Assistance Program 
(FVAP). It provides direction and guidance to the Department of Defense 
and other Federal departments and agencies in establishing voting 
assistance programs for citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas 
Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) as modified by the Military and 
Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. The 2012 election cycle starts with the 
January 10, 2012 New Hampshire Presidential Preference Primary and 
continues through the November 6, 2012 General Election. This 2012 
election schedule requires that the policies and procedures set forth 
in the rule must be in place to ensure that citizens voting under 
UOCAVA are fully guided and supported through established voting 
assistance programs within the Federal departments and agencies. 
Therefore, this rule is being established as an interim final rule to 
allow promulgation of appropriate direction and guidance prior to 
completion of a public comment period.

DATES: Effective date: September 18, 2012.
    Comment date: Comments must be received by November 19, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number and or 
Regulatory Information Number (RIN) number and title, by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Federal Docket Management System Office, 4800 Mark 
Center Drive, 2nd floor, East Tower, Suite 02G09, Alexandria, VA 22350-
3100.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number or RIN for this Federal Register document. The 
general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the 
public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without 
change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John B. Godley, (703) 588-8108.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Part 233 establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for the 
Federal Voting Assistance Program. It establishes policy and assigns 
responsibilities for the development and implementation of installation 
voter assistance (IVA) offices. This part establishes policy for the 
development and implementation, jointly with each State, of procedures 
for persons to apply to register to vote at recruitment offices of the 
Military Services.

Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'' and Executive 
Order 13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review''

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 233 does not:
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or 
adversely affect in a material way the economy; a section of the 
economy; productivity; competition; jobs; the environment; public 
health or safety; or State, local, or tribal governments or 
communities;
    (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another Agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, 
user fees, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of 
recipients thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
these Executive Orders.

Sec. 202, Public Law 104-4, ``Unfunded Mandates Reform Act''

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 233 does not contain a 
Federal mandate

[[Page 57487]]

that may result in expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, 
in aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any 
one year.

Public Law 96-354, ``Regulatory Flexibility Act'' (5 U.S.C. 601)

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 233 is not subject to the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601) because it would not, if 
promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities.

Public Law 96-511, ``Paperwork Reduction Act'' (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 233 does impose reporting or 
recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. 
Two surveys are conducted after the election cycle. OMB has approved 
these surveys under the following OMB Control Numbers: 0704-0125, 
``Post-Election Survey of Local Election Officials,'' and 0704-0476, 
``Post-Election Survey of Overseas Citizens.'' A 60-day notice 
requesting comments on the revised collections will be published in 
January 2012 and the revised collections should be ready for submission 
to OMB in the May/June 2012 timeframe.

Executive Order 13132, ``Federalism''

    It has been certified that 32 CFR part 233 does not have federalism 
implications, as set forth in Executive Order 13132. This rule does not 
have substantial direct effects on:
    (1) The States;
    (2) The relationship between the National Government and the 
States; or
    (3) The distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of Government.

List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 233

    Voting rights, civil rights, elections, voter registration, voting.


0
Accordingly 32 CFR part 233 is added to read as follows:

PART 233--FEDERAL VOTING ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (FVAP)

Sec.
233.1 Purpose
233.2 Applicability
233.3 Definitions
233.4 Policy
233.5 Responsibilities
233.6 Procedures

    Authority: EO 12642; 10 U.S.C. 1566a; 42 U.S.C 1973gg-5; 42 
U.S.C. 1973ff--1973ff-6


Sec.  233.1  Purpose.

    This part:
    (a) Establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for the FVAP in 
accordance with Executive Order 12642 and the Uniformed and Overseas 
Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1973ff-6.
    (b) Establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for the 
development and implementation of installation voter assistance (IVA) 
offices in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1566a.
    (c) Establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for the 
development and implementation, jointly with each State, of procedures 
for persons to apply to register to vote at recruitment offices of the 
Military Services in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5.


Sec.  233.2  Applicability.

    This part applies to:
    (a) The Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military 
Departments (including the Coast Guard at all times, including when it 
is a Service in the Department of Homeland Security by agreement with 
that Department), the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff and the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the 
Inspector General of the Department of Defense (IG DoD), the Defense 
Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all other organizational 
entities within the DoD (hereinafter referred to collectively as the 
``DoD Components'').
    (b) The Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), 
under agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services, and 
the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), under agreement with the Department of Commerce. 
The term ``uniformed services'' refers to the Army, the Navy, the Air 
Force, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and their Reserve Components, 
as well as the Commissioned Corps of the PHS and the NOAA.
    (c) Other Federal Executive departments and agencies with employees 
assigned outside the United States that provide assistance to the FVAP 
under 42 U.S.C. 1973ff(c). Recommended procedures for these departments 
and agencies are contained in Sec.  233.6(c) of this part.


Sec.  233.3  Definitions.

    Terms used in this part are defined in Joint Publication 1-02 
(available at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/dod_dictionary/) and this 
section. These terms and their definitions are for the purpose of this 
part.
    Eligible voter. Any of the following:
    (1) Absent uniformed services voter:
    (i) A member of a uniformed service on active duty who, by reason 
of such active duty, is absent from the place of residence where the 
member is otherwise qualified to vote.
    (ii) A member of the merchant marine who, by reason of service in 
the merchant marine, is absent from the place of residence where the 
member is otherwise qualified to vote.
    (iii) A spouse or dependent of a member referred to in the first 
two sentences of this definition who, by reason of the active duty or 
service of the member, is absent from the place of residence where the 
spouse or dependent is otherwise qualified to vote.
    (2) Overseas voter:
    (i) An absent uniformed services voter who, by reason of active 
duty or service, is absent from the United States on the date of the 
election involved;
    (ii) A person who resides outside of the United States and is 
qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled 
before leaving the United States; or
    (iii) A person who resides outside of the United States and (but 
for such residence) would be qualified to vote in the last place in 
which the person was domiciled before leaving the United States.
    Federal office. The offices of President or Vice President; 
Presidential Elector; or of Senator or Representative in; or Delegate 
or Resident Commissioner to Congress.
    Installation voter assistance (IVA) offices. The office designated 
by the installation commander to provide voter assistance to military 
personnel, voting-age military dependents, Government employees, 
contractors, and other civilian U.S. citizens with access to the 
installation. IVA offices also serve as voter registration agencies 
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5(a)(2).
    Installation voter assistance officer (IVAO). An individual 
responsible for voting assistance coordination at the installation 
level.
    Metrics. A systematic means of measuring essential management 
information for reporting, control, and process improvement.
    Recruitment offices of the Military Services. Any office of a 
military service open to the public and engaged in the recruitment of 
persons for appointment or enlistment in an Active Component of the 
Military Services. This does not include Army National Guard and Air 
National Guard recruiting offices.
    Senior service voting representative (SSVR). A uniformed member at 
the 0-7 grade, or higher, or a member of the Senior Executive Service 
responsible for implementing the FVAP in his or her respective 
component.

[[Page 57488]]

    Service voting action officer (SVAO). An individual at a uniformed 
service headquarters level responsible for voting assistance operations 
for his or her respective component.
    State. As defined in 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-6.
    State election. Any non-Federal election held solely, or in part, 
for selecting, nominating, or electing any candidate for any State 
office, such as Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Attorney General, 
or State Legislator, or on issues of Statewide interest.
    Uniformed services. As defined in 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-6(7).
    Unit voting assistance officer (UVAO). An individual responsible 
for voting assistance at the unit level.
    Voter registration agency. An office designated pursuant to 42 
U.S.C. 1973gg-5 to perform voter registration activities. Pursuant to 
42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5(c), a recruitment office of the Military Services is 
considered to be a voter registration agency. All IVA offices are also 
designated as voter registration agencies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-
5(a)(2).


Sec.  233.4  Policy.

    It is DoD policy that:
    (a) The FVAP shall ensure that eligible voters receive, pursuant to 
42 U.S.C. 1973ff(b)(5), information about registration and voting 
procedures and materials pertaining to scheduled elections, including 
dates, offices, constitutional amendments, and other ballot proposals.
    (b) The right of U.S. citizens to vote is a fundamental right that 
is afforded protection by the U.S. Constitution. Every eligible voter 
shall:
    (1) Be given an opportunity to register and vote in any election 
for which he or she is eligible.
    (2) Be able to vote in person or by absentee.
    (c) All persons assisting in the voting process shall take all 
necessary steps to prevent discrimination, fraud, intimidation or 
coercion, and unfair registration and voting assistance procedures. 
This includes, but is not limited to, preventing actions such as:
    (1) Using military authority to influence the vote of any other 
member of the uniformed services or to require any member to march to 
any polling place or place of voting as proscribed by 18 U.S.C. 592, 18 
U.S.C. 593, and 18 U.S.C. 609. This subsection does not, in any way, 
prohibit free discussion about political issues or candidates for 
public office as stated in 18 U.S.C. 609.
    (2) Polling any member of the uniformed services before or after he 
or she votes, as proscribed in 18 U.S.C. 596.
    (d) The FVAP shall conduct official surveys authorized by 42 U.S.C. 
1973ff to report to the President and the Congress on the effectiveness 
of the assistance provided to eligible voters (including a separate 
statistical analysis of voter participation and a description of 
Federal-State cooperation).
    (e) DoD personnel involved in assisting in the voter registration 
or absentee voting process shall use the names of persons applying or 
declining to register to vote only for voter registration purposes and 
shall not release such information for any other purpose.
    (f) Military or civilian personnel employed in recruitment offices 
of the Military Services shall be subject to the restrictions outlined 
in Sec.  233.6(b) of this part.
    (g) An installation commander may permit non-partisan voter 
registration activities on an installation by State and county 
officials, or groups recognized in accordance with section 501(c)(19) 
of the Internal Revenue Code, subject to all applicable military 
installation rules and regulations governing such activities on 
military installations.


Sec.  233.5  Responsibilities.

    (a) The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness 
(USD(P&R)) shall:
    (1) Execute the responsibilities of the Presidential designee in 
accordance with DoD Directive 5124.02 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/512402p.pdf).
    (2) Administer the FVAP in accordance with Executive Order 12642, 
10 U.S.C. 1566a, 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5, and 42 U.S.C. 1973ff--1973ff-6.
    (3) Coordinate and implement actions that may be necessary to 
discharge Federal responsibilities assigned in DoD Directive 5124.02, 
Executive Order 12642, 10 U.S.C. 1566, 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5, 42 U.S.C. 
1973ff--1973ff-6, Section 1604 of Public Law 107-107, ``The National 
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002,'' and Section 567 of 
Public Law 108-375, ``The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 
Year 2005''.
    (4) Develop policy and procedures to implement DoD responsibilities 
under 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5 (also known as the ``National Voter 
Registration Act (NVRA)'').
    (5) Grant or deny any hardship exemption waivers submitted by a 
State pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1(g) (after consultation with the 
Attorney General's designee) and inform the State of the results of the 
waiver request.
    (6) Ensure that the Director, Department of Defense Human Resources 
Activity (DoDHRA) designates a civilian Director of the FVAP, who shall 
be responsible for all aspects of the FVAP, and shall have the 
necessary authority to administer that responsibility, as described in 
Sec.  233.6(a) of this part.
    (b) The Director, DoDHRA, under the authority, direction, and 
control of the USD(P&R), shall:
    (1) In coordination with the USD(P&R), designate an office by name 
for the execution of the FVAP.
    (2) Ensure that the Director, FVAP carries out the responsibilities 
identified in Procedures.
    (c) The IG DoD, in addition to the responsibilities in paragraph 
(d) of this section, shall:
    (1) Provide to Congress an independent analysis of and report on 
the utilization and effectiveness of voting assistance programs, and 
the level of compliance with voting assistance programs of the Military 
Departments, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1566.
    (2) Provide the Director, FVAP, along with the respective senior 
service representative, with copies of supporting data collected during 
the reviews and analyses conducted under paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of 
this section.
    (d) The Chief, National Guard Bureau, in addition to the 
responsibilities in paragraph (d) of this section shall:
    (1) Designate in writing a uniformed officer or a civilian employee 
of the appropriate grade as the SSVR to manage the voting assistance 
program within the National Guard.
    (2) Designate a SVAO, preferably a civilian employee (GS-12 or 
higher), to assist the SSVR and who shall be responsible for voting 
assistance operations within the National Guard.
    (3) The Adjutants General of the National Guard of the States and 
Territories shall inform the State or territory chief election official 
when National Guard units are mobilized or placed in a Federal status.
    (e) The Heads of the DoD Components and the Uniformed Services 
shall disseminate voting information and assist eligible voters, as 
required, in their respective organization, following the procedures in 
Sec.  233.6(b) of this part.
    (f) The Combatant Commanders, in addition to the responsibilities 
in paragraph (d) of this section, shall:
    (1) Ensure that deployed forces have access to Federal voting 
information and assistance, particularly in remote locations. To the 
extent practicable, provide uniformed services members under their 
command with access to computers with Internet capability and other 
necessary resources including, but

[[Page 57489]]

not limited to, printers and scanners for absentee voting purposes.
    (2) Emphasize, within the operational chain of command, the 
importance that they and the DoD attach to participation by uniformed 
service members in the Federal, State, and local election process and 
make every reasonable effort to assist the Military Services in 
discharging the responsibilities outlined elsewhere in this part.


Sec.  233.6  Procedures.

    (a) FVAP Procedures. The Director, FVAP, shall:
    (1) Manage, coordinate, and perform the Presidential designee's 
responsibilities pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.
    (3) Encourage and assist States and other U.S. jurisdictions to 
adopt the mandatory and recommended provisions of 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1 
and ensure they are aware of the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.
    (4) Establish and maintain contact with State election officials, 
State legislators, and with other State and local government officials 
to improve the absentee voting process for the Uniformed and Overseas 
Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) citizens. Consult with the 
Defense State Liaison Office which is the DoD office for contact and 
coordination with Federal, State, and local government entities for 
legislative and other policy matters involving voting assistance and 
elections pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.
    (5) Obtain, from each State, current voter registration and 
absentee voting information and disseminate it to other Federal 
Executive departments, agencies, DoD Components and voters qualified to 
vote, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff(b)(5).
    (6) Establish and maintain a voting assistance program to assist 
all eligible voters as covered by 42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq., and to 
assist those persons to vote.
    (7) Establish and maintain an FVAP Web site that provides:
    (i) Information to citizens on the voter registration and absentee 
voting process.
    (ii) Information on the means of electronic transmission of 
election materials allowed by each State.
    (iii) A method to assist citizens in the voter registration process 
and how to request an absentee ballot.
    (iv) A list of State contact information in accordance with 42 
U.S.C. 1973ff-1(e)(4).
    (v) The ability to print a Standard Form (SF) 186, ``Federal Write-
In Absentee Ballot,'' and a list of all candidates in a Federal 
election.
    (vi) A portal that hosts Service-specific information regarding 
voting assistance programs, including links to IVA offices; the contact 
information for voting assistance officers (installation, major command 
and commissioned units) within the DoD Component; procedures to order 
voting materials; and links to other Federal and State voting Web 
sites.
    (vii) Absentee ballot data reported under 42 U.S.C. 1973ff(b)(6) 
and (b)(11) and 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-4A.
    (viii) Other information as deemed necessary by Director, FVAP.
    (8) Survey U.S. citizens including, but not limited to uniformed 
services and their dependents as well as overseas U.S. civilians 
covered by 42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq., voting assistance officers (VAOs), 
and election officials to gather necessary statistical information and 
prepare the reports to the President and the Congress required by 42 
U.S.C. 1973ff(6) and 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-4A.
    (9) Prescribe the standard oath to be used with any document 
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff(7).
    (10) Coordinate with the Military Postal Service Agency, as 
addressed in DoD 4525.6-M (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/452506m.pdf), to implement measures to ensure a 
postmark or other proof of mailing date is provided on each absentee 
ballot collected at any overseas location or vessel at sea, and that 
voting materials are moved expeditiously to the maximum extent 
practicable by military postal authorities.
    (11) As a component of a comprehensive marketing and voter 
education initiative, establish a means to inform absent uniformed 
services members of absentee voting information and resources 90, 60, 
and 30 days before each Federal election pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-
2B(a)(2).
    (12) Develop standards, working with the U.S. Election Assistance 
Commission and the Chief State election official of each State, for the 
States to report data on the number of absentee ballots transmitted and 
received during a regularly scheduled general election for Federal 
office pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff(b)(11). Provide a means to store 
the collected data and make the data available to the public.
    (13) Establish procedures, in consultation with the Attorney 
General, regarding hardship exemption waivers submitted by a State 
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff-1(g).
    (14) Prescribe the required voting program metrics to be used by 
the DoD Components and uniformed services to be used in evaluating 
their individual voting assistance programs, and report on compliance 
with those metrics. To the extent practicable, establish and maintain 
an online portal to collect and consolidate voting program metrics.
    (15) Provide technology programs to assist uniformed service and 
overseas voters in registering to vote, applying for an absentee 
ballot, receiving an absentee ballot, and to the extent required by 
section 1604 of Public Law (Pub. L.) 107-107, as amended by section 567 
of Public Law 108-375, returning a voted ballot.
    (16) Develop and coordinate with the States the implementation and 
operational procedures for persons to apply to register to vote at 
recruitment offices of the Military Services. Assist the Deputy 
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy with the 
implementation of section 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5(c) as it applies to 
recruitment offices within the DoD.
    (17) In coordination with the Services, develop multiple types of 
training materials for use by IVA offices, IVAOs, UVAOs, and recruiters 
to provide voter registration and absentee ballot assistance and at 
recruitment offices of the Military Services to provide voter 
registration assistance. Conduct voting assistance training during 
even-numbered years worldwide.
    (18) Analyze the impact of providing voter registration assistance 
and make recommendations for improvements in Federal and State 
procedures, forms, and laws affected by 42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.
    (19) Maintain multiple lines of support for use by uniformed 
services and overseas voters, personnel assigned to recruitment offices 
of the Military Services and State election officials to provide 
assistance outlined pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.
    (b) DoD Component and Uniformed Services Procedures. The DoD 
Components and the uniformed services shall:
    (1) Develop written voting-related policies to support all eligible 
uniformed services personnel and their family members including those 
in deployed, dispersed, and tenant organizations. Establish the ratio 
and maximum number of voters who may be represented by a VAO.
    (2) Ensure command support at all levels for the FVAP.
    (3) Designate in writing a uniformed officer of flag grade or a 
civilian employee in the Senior Executive Service in each uniformed 
service as the SSVR to manage the respective Service voting programs.
    (4) Designate a SVAO, preferably a civilian employee (General 
Schedule (GS)-12 or higher), to assist the SSVR and who shall be 
responsible for voting

[[Page 57490]]

assistance operations within his or her Service.
    (i) If the SVAO is a military member, he or she should be at least 
of pay grade O-4 (if an officer) or E-8 (if enlisted) and shall be a 
permanently assigned member within the SSVR's organization.
    (ii) The chief or director of each Reserve Component shall 
designate an SVAO to coordinate with the SSVR and the Director, FVAP to 
maintain a contingency absentee voting program for the National Guard 
and Reserve units and personnel who have been activated and deployed.
    (5) Establish IVA offices on each military installation and 
maintain an updated list of IVA offices, including location, address, 
hours of operation, phone number and email address, published on the 
Service voting assistance Web site. At the discretion of the 
installation commander, satellite offices may be established under the 
primary IVA office.
    (i) The IVA office will provide voter assistance to military 
personnel, their dependents, civilian Federal employees, and all 
qualified voters who have access to such installation offices. IVA 
offices shall also serve as voter registration agencies under 42 U.S.C. 
1973gg-5(a)(2).
    (ii) The IVA office shall be established within the installation 
headquarters organization reporting directly to the installation 
commander, even if geographically located in another office.
    (iii) The IVA office should be located in a well-advertised, fixed 
location, consistent throughout the Service, and should be physically 
co-located with an existing office that receives extensive visits by 
Service personnel, family members, and DoD civilians. The IVA office 
shall be staffed during the hours the installation office is open with 
trained personnel to provide direct assistance in registration and 
voting procedures, including the assistance required under 42 U.S.C. 
1973gg-5(a)(4).
    (iv) The IVA office shall:
    (A) Be included in the administrative in-processing and out-
processing activities required of reporting and detaching personnel.
    (B) Ensure that uniformed services members, their voting-age 
dependents, and overseas DoD civilians are provided proper voting 
assistance at the IVA office, including the opportunity to update their 
voter registration information through the submission of a revised SF 
76, ``Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)'' or National Mail Voter 
Registration Form.
    (C) Ensure that voting assistance is provided to all personnel, 
military and civilian, reporting for duty on the installation, 
detaching from duty, deploying, and returning from deployment of 6 
months or longer.
    (1) SF 76s shall be used to notify local election officials of the 
change of mailing address for absentee ballot delivery purposes.
    (2) Uniformed services members who are being released from active 
duty shall be advised to notify their local election office that they 
are no longer covered under 42 U.S.C. 1973ff and shall be provided the 
opportunity to submit a National Mail Voter Registration Form.
    (D) Ensure that all small and geographically separated units are 
provided voting assistance.
    (E) Provide written information on voter registration and absentee 
ballot procedures. This can be met by providing the applicant with the 
SF 76, SF 186, (if applicable), or the National Mail Voter Registration 
Form, the attached instructions for those forms, and the State-specific 
instructions from the Voting Assistance Guide (available at http://www.fvap.gov) for absent uniformed services voters, voting-age 
dependent voters, and overseas civilians. Citizens may also be provided 
with all of the necessary resources including, but not limited to, 
access to a computer system connected to the Internet, a printer, and a 
scanner to use the FPCA wizard available at the FVAP Web site, 
www.fvap.gov.
    (1) SF 76 and SF 186 (if applicable) shall be provided to absent 
uniformed services personnel and their family members (within and 
outside of the United States) and to Federal civilian employees and 
other U.S. citizens who have access to an IVA office outside the United 
States.
    (2) The National Mail Voter Registration Form shall be provided to 
Federal civilian employees and other U.S. citizens who have access to 
the IVA office within the United States, and to uniformed services 
voters who currently reside in their voting districts.
    (F) Provide direct assistance to individuals in completing the 
forms necessary to register to vote, update their voter registration 
information, and request absentee ballots.
    (G) Collect from the voter and transmit the completed SF 76 or 
National Mail Voter Registration Form for the applicant, within 5 
calendar days, to the appropriate local election office.
    (H) Maintain voting program metrics as coordinated with and 
prescribed by the Director, FVAP and furnish a report, via their SVAO, 
to the Director, FVAP each calendar quarter or as requested.
    (6) Designate VAOs, in writing, at every level of command; assign 
one VAO on each installation and in each major command to coordinate 
the programs conducted by subordinate units and tenant commands.
    (i) For continuity, individuals assigned as IVAOs should serve for 
18 months beginning in October of the year immediately prior to a 
regularly scheduled general election for Federal offices and concluding 
in March of the year immediately following a regularly scheduled 
general election for Federal offices.
    (ii) Ensure that VAOs are available and equipped to assist voters 
for all elections. VAOs shall be provided the time and resources needed 
to perform their voting assistance duties.
    (iii) When uniformed services personnel (including noncommissioned 
officers) are designated as VAOs this part authorizes them to 
administer oaths in connection with voter registration and voting.
    (7) Designate IVAOs, preferably civilians (GS-12 or higher) with 
access to the installation commander. If a uniformed services member is 
assigned as the IVAO, that officer should hold the pay grade of O-4 or 
higher; however, it is preferable to assign an enthusiastic volunteer 
who is outside this rank and grade guidance rather than assign a less 
enthusiastic member who meets the criterion.
    (i) The IVAO shall complete FVAP training before assuming the 
duties of the IVAO.
    (ii) The IVAO shall work closely with the IVA office to coordinate 
the unit-level voting assistance programs implemented on that 
installation.
    (iii) Each IVAO shall notify installation personnel of the last 
date before a general election for Federal offices by which absentee 
ballots must be mailed to reasonably be delivered in time to State and 
local election officials and of general mail delivery deadlines 
recommended by the Military Postal Service Agency.
    (8) Designate and assign, in writing, a UVAO, at the O-2/E-7 level 
or above, within each unit of 25 or more permanently assigned members. 
It is preferable to assign an enthusiastic volunteer who is outside 
this rank and grade guidance rather than assign a less enthusiastic 
member who meets the criterion.
    (i) A UVAO shall complete FVAP training prior to assuming the 
duties of the UVAO as specified in this rule. Unit commanders shall, to 
the extent practicable, provide funding to enable their UVAOs to attend 
in-person training.

[[Page 57491]]

    (ii) An additional UVAO should be assigned for each additional 50 
members above the 25-member base.
    (iii) UVAOs shall ensure that all small and geographically 
separated units are assisted.
    (iv) UVAOs may advise and assist the IVA office in fulfilling the 
voter assistance functions for deploying personnel, personnel returning 
from deployment, and personnel recording a change of address. However, 
the individual in charge of the IVA office is responsible to require 
that UVAOs have fully complied with the voter assistance 
responsibilities as described in 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.
    (9) Require that uniformed services members and their voting-age 
dependents have ready access to absentee voter registration, ballot 
request and absentee ballot submission information, deadlines, and 
recommended mailing dates to meet those deadlines. This information 
must be available online and in written format for those citizens who 
do not have access to online documents.
    (10) Expeditiously obtain and disseminate to eligible voters, 
voting information and related materials, such as the Voting Assistance 
Guide, SF 76, and SF 186.
    (11) Provide sufficient registration and ballot request materials 
to support all elections.
    (12) Establish within each military installation and major command 
a VAO network and communications capability to quickly disseminate 
voting information throughout the installation or major command. 
Establish a DoD Component-wide means to communicate effectively with 
and expeditiously disseminate voting information to Commanders, VAOs, 
and uniformed services and overseas DoD civilian members of the DoD 
Component and their voting age dependents. This communication effort 
should be coordinated with the FVAP.
    (13) Develop a DoD Component-wide communications plan to provide 
information on the absentee voting process (including State 
registration and absentee ballot deadlines and the effective deadlines 
for mailing from overseas and remote locations to meet those State 
deadlines), encourage voting participation, schedule voting 
communications from Component leaders, and program the distribution of 
voting materials.
    (14) Develop a distribution system to deliver SF 76s directly to 
all eligible voters either through in-hand delivery or through 
electronic means.
    (15) The delivery of SF 76s shall be accomplished:
    (i) By January 15 of each calendar year to eligible voters and, to 
the extent practicable, their voting-age dependents.
    (ii) By July 15 of even-numbered years to eligible voters and, to 
the extent practicable, voting-age dependents.
    (iii) Before graduation and detachment from recruit training. These 
SF 76s shall be used to notify local election officials of the change 
of mailing address for absentee ballot delivery purposes.
    (16) Require the Inspectors General of the Military Departments to 
review their voting assistance program annually, and at every level of 
command, to ensure compliance with 10 U.S.C. 1566a, 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5, 
42 U.S.C. 1973ff--1973ff-6, 18 U.S.C. 592, 18 U.S.C. 609, DoD 8910.1-M 
(available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/891001m.pdf), and DoD 4525.6-M. A copy of this report shall be 
submitted to the IG DoD along with supporting statistical information 
to the Director, FVAP, by January 31 of the following year pursuant to 
10 U.S.C.
    (17) Continually evaluate command voting assistance programs. 
Program metrics shall be reported to the Director, FVAP, as prescribed 
by paragraph n. in Enclosure 3.
    (18) Establish and maintain a direct link from the DoD Component's 
Web site to the Web site designated by the Director, FVAP.
    (19) Develop comprehensive command-wide voting awareness, 
assistance programs, and activities in accordance with the requirement 
of paragraph (15)(i) of this section to annually deliver SF76s by 
January 15. ``Armed Forces Voters Week'' will be advertised to 
encourage voter registration drives.
    (20) Establish and maintain a standard email address of the form 
Vote@(unit).(Service).mil, Vote.(unit)@(Service).mil or similar format 
to contact all UVAOs within that Service.
    (21) Annually train all uniformed service members (including 
activated National Guard and Reserve personnel) on absentee 
registration and voting procedures.
    (i) All basic training and command courses shall emphasize and 
advertise voting assistance programs to encourage service members to 
register and subsequently vote by offering instruction on voting rights 
and responsibilities and procedures on absentee registration and 
voting.
    (ii) Provide training and voting assistance for units preparing for 
deployment where voting materials and accessibility to register may be 
limited due to at-sea or remote area deployment.
    (iii) Retain records of training conducted, including dates and 
attendees, at the unit level for at least 1 calendar year.
    (22) Require that all major command, installation, and UVAOs attend 
an FVAP voting assistance workshop during even-numbered years with 
elections for Federal offices. If the installation is not scheduled to 
receive FVAP workshop training, installation and UVAOs should attend 
training at a nearby installation. VAOs at remote locations can access 
the FVAP Web site for training. Documentation of VAO training at the 
installation or base level shall be stored within local personnel 
records.
    (23) To the greatest extent practicable, ensure voters who are 
eligible to cast absentee ballots on DoD facilities are able to do so 
in a private and independent manner.
    (24) Protect the privacy of the contents of absentee ballots while 
under DoD control. Voters who vote locally at polling sites should be 
provided time to vote during working hours.
    (25) File an annual after-action report to the Director, FVAP, in 
the format and manner specified by the Director, FVAP.
    (26) Assist the FVAP in conducting official surveys in the manner 
specified by the Director, FVAP.
    (27) Refrain from contacting State and local government officials 
about voting policy matters. The Director, Defense State Liaison 
Office, in consultation with the Director, FVAP, shall be the DoD 
representative for coordination with Federal, State, and local 
government entities for legislative and other policy matters involving 
voting assistance and elections pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.
    (i) IVAOs, major command voting assistance officers, and SVAOs are 
encouraged to discuss voting policy concerns with FVAP, and may work 
with FVAP on such issues at the Director, FVAP's request.
    (ii) IVAOs, major command voting assistance officers, and SVAOs may 
contact local election officials to help resolve any specific problem 
involving voter registration or absentee voting on behalf of the voter, 
or to engage appropriate local election official assistance for a voter 
registration drive or similar event on an installation.
    (28) Consolidate and provide quarterly statistical information and 
records on voter registration assistance provided by the UVAOs and the 
IVA offices in a format prescribed by the Director, FVAP.
    (29) Ensure all personnel assigned to transition assistance program 
offices are informed of the policies in this part and

[[Page 57492]]

are trained to provide materials educating transitioning personnel on 
their civilian voting rights and responsibilities. Transition 
assistance program offices shall work with the Director, FVAP, to 
provide pre-printed notices that transitioning personnel may use to 
inform their election offices that they no longer will vote absentee in 
accordance with the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 1973ff.
    (30) Ensure all personnel assigned to recruitment offices are 
informed of the policies in this part and are trained to provide voter 
registration assistance. Ensure the recruitment offices of the Military 
Services:
    (i) Provide each prospective enlistee with the National Mail Voter 
Registration Form, available at http://www.eac.gov/voter/Register_to_Vote, and DD Form 2645, Voter Registration Information Form, available 
at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/forminfo/forminfopage2084.html, unless the applicant, in writing, declines to 
register to vote.
    (ii) Distribute the National Mail Voter Registration Form to each 
eligible citizen and provide assistance in completing the form unless 
the applicant refuses such assistance.
    (iii) Provide each eligible citizen or prospective enlistee who 
does not decline to register to vote the same degree of assistance for 
the completion of the National Mail Voter Registration Form as is 
provided by the office for the completion of its own forms, e.g., the 
application for enlistment, unless the person refuses such assistance.
    (iv) Transmit all completed registration applications within 5 
calendar days to the appropriate State election officials.
    (v) Maintain statistical information and records on voter 
registration assistance provided by recruitment offices in the format 
prescribed by the Director, FVAP, for a period of two years, in 
accordance with 42 U.S.C. 1973gg(6)(i).
    (31) Ensure that inspections of recruitment offices of the Military 
Services by the Service Inspectors General are in compliance with this 
part.
    (32) As discussed in DoD 4525.6-M, the Director, Military Postal 
Service Agency shall:
    (i) Implement measures in consultation with the FVAP, to the 
maximum extent practicable, to ensure that a postmark or other proof of 
mailing date is provided on each absentee ballot collected at any 
overseas location or vessel at sea and that voting materials are moved 
expeditiously, to the maximum extent practicable, by military postal 
authorities.
    (ii) Develop an outreach plan to inform overseas uniformed services 
voters regarding the ballot collection and delivery service to be 
implemented prior to each general election for Federal office.
    (iii) Establish alternative deadlines for collecting and forwarding 
absentee ballots from overseas locations as required by 42 U.S.C. 
1973ff.
    (33) Revise all voting assistance program instructions and 
procedures to incorporate the provisions of this part.
    (c) Executive Department and Agency Procedures. (1) Federal 
Executive departments and agencies, including, but not limited to, the 
Department of State, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of 
Health and Human Services, are encouraged to adopt regulations and 
procedures that conform to this part to the maximum extent practicable, 
consistent with their organizational missions. By doing so, the FVAP 
will be able to assist the Executive departments, agencies, and their 
voting constituencies to the maximum extent.
    (2) The head of each Government department, agency, or other entity 
shall distribute balloting materials and develop a non-partisan program 
of information and education for all employees and family members 
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1973ff(c).
    (i) The department or agency is responsible for providing voter 
assistance with assistance available from the FVAP.
    (ii) Each department or agency with employees or family members 
covered by 42 U.S.C. 1973ff shall designate an individual to coordinate 
and administer a voting assistance program for the department or agency 
to include, where practicable, the responsibilities in this part. The 
name, address, and telephone number of this individual shall be 
provided to the Director, FVAP.
    (iii) The Secretary of State shall designate a voting action 
officer at the Department of State headquarters to oversee the 
Department's program as well as a U.S. citizen at each U.S. embassy or 
consulate to assist, to the fullest extent practicable, other U.S. 
citizens residing outside of the United States who are eligible to 
vote. The Secretary of State shall provide annually, or as requested by 
the Director, FVAP, estimates of the numbers of U.S. citizens currently 
residing in each country with an established embassy.
    (iv) Each embassy and consulate should have sufficient quantities 
of materials to include SF 76s, and SF 186s, needed by U.S. citizens to 
register and vote. Embassies and consulates will also inform and 
educate U.S. citizens regarding their right to register and vote, and 
will publicize voter assistance programs.
    (v) The Department of State's voting action officer shall 
coordinate with the Director, FVAP, in the development and conduct of 
voting events, programs to inform and educate U.S. citizens outside of 
the United States, and provision of voting information and resources 
for assistance.
    (vi) Department of State and the Military Service voting action 
officers shall assist, as requested, embassy and consulate VAOs with 
post-election surveys of civilians outside of the United States.

    Dated: September 12, 2012.
Patricia L. Toppings,
OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
[FR Doc. 2012-22950 Filed 9-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 5001-06-P