ISSAQUAH, Wash., Jan. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As the national spotlight turns to Florida's Republican Presidential Primary Election on January 31st, Florida voters living and serving overseas have been voting since December. Thanks to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, the first ballots in the 2012 Presidential Primary were delivered through a one-stop web portal that allows overseas voters to access their ballot online. Since voting began, over 1,200 Florida voters from 40 countries have accessed their ballot using LiveBallot, a technology developed by Democracy Live and deployed and hosted on Microsoft's Windows Azure platform.
On Friday, January 20, overseas voters and members of the military from Virginia received access to the LiveBallot technology, in accordance with the MOVE Act's call for 45 days of access before the state's March 6 Presidential Primary Election. Beginning in late April, 13 counties in California will give voters the opportunity to use LiveBallot for the state's June primary. While traditional absentee ballots rely on the postal system, LiveBallot gives voters immediate access to a ballot that they can mark online or on paper and return via mail or fax, depending on state election laws.
"These elections are a huge step forward for voters living or serving our country overseas," said Bryan Finney, President of Democracy Live. "LiveBallot allows us to deliver secure voter-specific ballots through the web to any eligible voter, anywhere in the world. By cutting the ballot's transit time in half, LiveBallot ensures that voters are able to access, vote and return their ballot in time for it to be counted."
In the past, many overseas voters have not received an absentee ballot in time for it to be voted, returned, and counted. Others have been relegated to only casting a ballot for federal elections and have not had the opportunity to vote on important state and local elections. With LiveBallot, voters use unique identifying information to access their voter-specific ballot. Upon return, the signature on the ballot is matched with voter registration records to verify the voter's identity.
Democracy Live deploys LiveBallot in partnership with Microsoft, which ensures that the data required to deliver a voter-specific ballot is available 24/7 and is transferred securely, no matter where in the world voters access their ballot. By securely delivering overseas absentee ballots electronically, jurisdictions can cut the transit time of a ballot in half, allowing overseas voters ample time to research and select candidates and return their ballots in time to ensure they are counted.
"With LiveBallot, government officials have options that they've never had before," said Kim Nelson, Executive Director of eGovernment for Microsoft. "Because of its scalability, reliability and low cost, the Windows Azure cloud solution makes sense. Elections officials are among the first to realize the benefits of cloud computing for their unique seasonal situations."
California, Florida and Virginia election officials received Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) funding guaranteed by the MOVE Act to purchase the LiveBallot technology. In addition to these states, Democracy Live is providing electronic, accessible absentee ballots to voters with disabilities in Washington State during the 2012 elections, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Help America Vote Act.
LiveBallot has been used in over 300 live elections. In addition to helping military and overseas voters, the LiveBallot technology has been used in over 50 elections to provide independent, private ballot access to voters with disabilities.
ABOUT DEMOCRACY LIVE:
Founded in 2007, Democracy Live Inc. is the largest U.S.-based provider of eBalloting solutions, focused on delivering innovative products and voter information tools to each of the 200 million voters in the United States. Through the flagship LiveBallot voter information system, Democracy Live empowers voters with tools for the 21st century. The Democracy Live team is completely non-partisan and is made up of a group of political technologists, academics, former political officials and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.democracylive.com.