A Cloud Solution for America's Overseas Voters

Agility in the Cloud

The move to GovCloud also gave us full, front-to-back control over With the previous host, “on average it would take several weeks to make any type of change,” says Senior Lead Technologist Allison Martin, the project manager. “That made it difficult to rapidly respond to, for example, changes in state law that took place during the election cycle.”

In the cloud, work could be completed far faster. A deployment cycle for a full site release that once took 40 days now took only 24 hours.

With this heightened agility, a number of new and necessary capabilities were added for back- and front-end users. They included a customized content management system with user-friendly features like a word processor-style text editor, as well as an automated online assistant resembling the wizards on popular tax-filing websites. Users got step-by-step guidance for acquiring, completing, and casting absentee ballots. 

A Model for Cloud Migrators

The 2016 election provided an immediate test for’s new features and framework. The site served a record number of users without a single issue.

This is a special source of pride for Lead Engineer James Goodwin. His father served in the U.S. Air Force, which meant frequent moves for him and his family. Everywhere he went, from Nebraska to Belgium, the local military community made him feel welcome and supported.

“I’ve always been grateful for that hospitality,” he says. “I loved having this opportunity to give back.”

By helping FVAP become one of the first Defense Human Resource Activity components to successfully extricate itself from government servers, we’ve set an example that many will follow.

“We’re a model for agencies looking to move into the cloud,” says Allison. “If FVAP can do it, so can they.”