The Overseas Voting Initiative, or OVI, is a collaboration between The Council of State Governments, or CSG, and the U.S. Department of Defense through its Federal Voting Assistance Program to educate state policymakers, election officials, and other election community stakeholders about unique voting challenges faced by uniformed services personnel and other U.S. citizens overseas, and methods for improving the voting process for these individuals.
OVI was originally formed in 2013, embarking on a four-year collaboration to improve the return rate of overseas absentee ballots from service members and U.S. citizens abroad. The OVI made significant progress in this effort which is detailed in our research reports. However, additional priorities for research were identified and are being addressed through a second cooperative agreement which began in 2018.
Her work was instrumental in the Work Matters Task Force and she has assisted legislators and governors with policy on workforce issues. Previously, she served as the Director of Education and Workforce Development at CSG. Prior to CSG she has served in a number of roles within the Kentucky State Government, including the KY Department of Charitable Gaming, the Education and Workforce Cabinet, and the Office of the Governor.
Heather helps ensure CSG’s portfolio of policy work meets and exceeds the expectations of our funders, partners, and member States. She brings deep expertise helping public and private sector organizations align and achieve complex change. Prior to joining CSG, Heather served as a Director in KPMG’s public sector management consulting practice. Her projects spanned strategy development to program implementation for complex government entities throughout the U.S. Heather is a graduate of the University of Florida.
Before taking the helm of OVI, he was a member of the CSG Occupational Licensure team, working to reduce licensing barriers for veterans and military spouses. Prior to joining CSG, Taylor was a staff attorney for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, serving 4 rural counties in Eastern Kentucky. Taylor is also Captain in Kentucky Army National Guard, currently serving as an intelligence officer for the 138th Field Artillery Brigade. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and University of Kentucky College of Law.
Prior to joining The Council of State Governments, Casandra worked as a Staff Attorney for the Department of Public Advocacy in Johnson County, Kentucky. Casandra earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clarion University in 2011 and received her Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University Milton Kramer School of Law in 2014.
He oversees CSG’s Overseas Voting Initiative work on data standardization, which aims to improve the voting experience for military and overseas voters by analyzing anonymized transactions across all 50 states and, with state and local election officials, developing recommendations for improvement. Prior to his work with CSG, he was Manager and Officer of Elections Technology at The Pew Charitable Trusts where he worked across all projects in the election initiatives portfolio. One of his primary roles at Pew was managing the Voting Information Project, a collaboration with state and local officials, Google, and Pew to create an open, standardized repository of election-related information for all 50 states and DC. In addition to many years of programming experience in various languages, Jared is also an accomplished interface and interaction designer, having worked on various news and commerce sites and online voting information tools. An experienced speaker, Jared has spoken at SXSW, NIST symposiums, and many election administrator conferences. Jared sits on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Voting Solutions for All People, or VSAP, project, an initiative by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk to assess their existing voting system and develop a new solution that meets the needs of Los Angeles County’s voters. Jared has previously worked at Six Apart and IBM, and is a graduate of the University of Vermont.
She oversees elections technology-related research programs focused on the sustainability of UOCAVA balloting solutions for the Overseas Voting Initiative. Michelle’s expertise is in the development and implementation of research initiatives and integrated communications programs in support of the election and government technology sectors. She has unequaled experience working with private corporations, local and state election administrators, U.S. based non-profits, and international non-governmental organizations. Michelle serves as an Election Judge in Travis County, Texas and has significant international elections experience having served as a Short-Term Observer to Cairo and Giza for the 2014 Egyptian Presidential Elections with Democracy International, New Voting Technology Expert as part of the OSCE-ODIHR Core Team supporting the Switzerland Election Assistance Mission for the country’s October 2011 Federal Elections, and a Polling Station Advisor for the December 2010 Snap Elections in the Northern Mitrovica region of Kosovo with IFES. An experienced speaker, Michelle has presented to convenings of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Association of Secretaries of State, National Association of State Election Directors, the Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project, E-Vote-ID, in addition to many other local, state, national and international groups. Michelle consults for CSG and other clients through her company, Magenta Sage Strategies, LLC, and has previously served in senior leadership team positions for election technology providers that include Hart InterCivic, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Scytl. Michelle is a graduate of Fordham University and received a Public Communications & Issues Management Certificate from The University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Continuing Education.
As a Research Associate, Rachel conducts research on a variety of state level policy areas as well as tracks and analyzes legislative trends. Prior to joining CSG, Rachel worked at the University of Kentucky and held positions focused on human rights advocacy, both in the U.S. and abroad. Rachel holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Kentucky.