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Elections and Voter Information

Voter Information

Complying with the MOVE Act

TEAM logo

To: County Officials
From: Ann McGeehan, Director of Elections
Date: June 14, 2010
RE: Complying with the MOVE Act

Last October, Congress passed the federal Military Overseas Voters Empowerment (‘MOVE”) Act. The MOVE Act requires changes to the way military and overseas voters may register and vote in federal elections. This memorandum will cover first the requirements to submit the Federal Postcard Application (“FPCA”) to the State and second; the methods by which a county can record the ballot status of a military or overseas voter. The Secretary of State’s Office is creating a Military and Overseas Ballot Tracking website that will allow all counties to submit the FPCA record and corresponding ballot status to the state, thereby creating a centralized repository and location for military and overseas voters to access and track the status of their ballot. The website will be operational by the November 2nd General Election to comply with the required deadline.

Submitting Your FPCA Records

All forms serving as voter registration applications are given a source code number to identify their origin and method by which the person applied for voter registration. The FPCA form has not officially been given a number; however, for purposes of tracking, the State of Texas has identified the source code number to be 90. All references in this memorandum to indicate an FPCA application being filed to receive a mail ballot will be referred to as a source code 90 (SC90) record. In addition, the Office of the Secretary of State proposed an Administrative Rule, 81.40, regarding the acceptance of an FPCA form filed on or after September 1, 2009 to serve as an application for permanent voter registration, pursuant to the passage of House Bill 536, 81st Legislative session. After the early voting clerk receives and processes an FPCA application (SC90) he/she then makes a copy of the form and provides the original to the voter registrar to act as an application form to register to vote. Since the single form serves two completely different functions, the form used to register the person to vote is referred to as a source code 91 or SC91 record.

Currently the Voter Registrars/Tax Assessor Collectors and Election Administrators are required under HAVA to submit all voter registration records and activity to the Secretary of State’s Office on a daily basis. The State maintains a centralized database with all registered voters called the Texas Election Administrative Management System (“TEAM”). There are currently two methods by which a county complies with the submission of their voter registration information:

In compliance with the MOVE Act, changes have been made to the Voter Import and Voting History Import files in order to make secure the FPCA (SC90) and corresponding ballot status.

The following submission methods provide the requirements for submission of the FPCA application data and the ballot status for each applicable election for military and overseas voters.  This information will support the MOVE Act requirement to create and support a website allowing military and oversea voters to track the status of their ballot.  Each county will be required to adopt a method to submit both the FPCA application data and ballot status to the State.

The requirement to submit the FPCA application information can be met by using one of the three methods listed below:

  1. Voter Import – The voter import is currently used to transmit all voter status and application changes to the State on a daily basis.  The voter import has been modified to accept an FPCA application and all corresponding data fields and validation edits.  If this method is used, it will update the state database (TEAM) with the FPCA application and take advantage of all automated functionality as described below:
    1. FPCA voters will be compared to other FPCA voters across the state to identify strong match duplicates.
    2. FPCA voters can be linked to their corresponding permanent registration record.
    3. FPCA voters will receive a separate VUID number for tracking ease.
    4. State will automatically mark the FPCA voter as temporarily exempt from jury duty; expiration corresponds with FPCA expiration date.
    5. State will automatically purge FPCA voters on anniversary of expiration date. 
    6. Various statistical reports available on FPCA voters.
    7. Automated events will be triggered to notify Early Voting clerk when the Voter Registrar files an address change on the linked voter record.

  2. TEAM Data Entry – Direct access to the TEAM application can be used to enter FPCA voters. This method allows for all functionality listed above through the Voter Import method but also offers several additional processes:
    1. Ability to view a side by side record display of a potential weak match between two FPCA voters, highlighting all common data fields.
    2. Ability to create all correspondence to the FPCA voter; confirmation and defective notices can be generated.
    3. When FPCA voter is entered through TEAM, it transmits an electronic copy to the Voter Registrar that auto populates the Voter Application, ready for review and acceptance.

  3. Spreadsheet Submission – A spreadsheet to submit just the data fields to support the ballot status website lookup is currently being developed. The spreadsheet can be submitted to a particular e-mail address and will update a separate database. This method will not update TEAM or offer any functionality benefits outlined under the Voter Import or TEAM Data Entry methods. The following data fields will be required for the submission of the FPCA voter:
    • County Name – Required
    • Election Name – Required
    • Last Name – Required
    • First Name – Required
    • Former Name – Required if provided
    • Date of Birth – Required
    • Residential Zip Code – Required
    • FPCA Application Method – Value or M, E or F
      1. M = Mailed
      2. E = Electronic transfer
      3. F = Faxed

The FPCA Application Method describes the method used by the FPCA voter to submit the FPCA application.

Submission Deadlines

If the submission method adopted by the county is either the Voter Import or TEAM Data Entry method, applications should be filed upon receipt of the FPCA application. If the submission method is through the spreadsheet method then all FPCA data fields should be submitted starting 60 days prior to each applicable election. The spreadsheet method requires a complete cumulative file submission of the most recent ballot status, no partial or “update” can be submitted.

Submission of Ballot Status

The requirement to submit the FPCA application information can be met by one of the following three methods:

  1. Voting History Import – The Voting History Import will be modified to add the following data fields to support the submission of the ballot status:
    • Absentee Status – Value of AM or AB
    • Absentee Status Date – MM/DD/YYYY
    • FPCA Ballot Mail Method – Value of M, E, F or P
    • Envelope ID – unique number within the Election; provided by the county

  2. TEAM Data Entry – Direct access to the TEAM application to log and track the ballot process.  This method allows for supporting reports for each phase of the ballot process.

  3. Spreadsheet Submission – The spreadsheet method will require the submission of both the FPCA data fields and ballot status to be within same spreadsheet submission.  Ballot status fields will be:
    • Absentee Status – Value of AM, AB, RB, AV or AX
    • Absentee Status Date – MM/DD/YYYY
    • FPCA Ballot Mail Method – Value of M, E or F
Absentee Status Values
AM Absentee Ballot Mailed
AB Absentee Ballot Received
RB

Absentee Ballot Returned by the Post Office

AV

Absentee Ballot Accepted

AX

Absentee Ballot Rejected

 

FPCA Ballot Mail Method Values
M Mailed
E

Electronic transfer

F Faxed
P

Personal delivery

Submission Deadlines

All updates to a military or overseas voter’s ballot status should be filed within 48 hours of the actual ballot status change, regardless of the submission method used by the county. The spreadsheet method requires a complete cumulative file submission of the most recent ballot status, no partial or “update” can be submitted.

We understand the work required at the local level to comply with these changes, and we encourage all county offices to work together to formulate a method that will secure the required information. As we all look forward to these changes and the development of the central tracking system, we encourage you to contact us at (800) 252-2216 with any questions you may have.

Enclosures:

AM:KR