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The Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) helps U.S. citizens—including approximately 150,000 military members deployed to more than 150 countries worldwide—vote in federal elections back home through its website, FVAP.gov.
But with a growing user base, rising hosting costs, and the complex U.S. voting requirements, FVAP leadership called on Booz Allen to help optimize the website to scale rapidly for peak election traffic.
The 1986 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act ensures that U.S. military service members, their families, and citizens around the world can vote absentee in federal elections. FVAP provides the resources these voters need to receive, cast, and return their ballots.
Balloting laws are different depending on an absentee voter’s state, and that means state-specific requirements were needed across the board on FVAP.gov. These features included automated online assistance and an enterprise database to standardize and manage data sources such as local election official data, voting assistance officer metrics, and guidelines for absentee voting.
In addition, since web traffic would surge during election times and then slow considerably, the hosting environment had to support peak traffic requirements year-round to sustain the application.
“With a growing user base, rising hosting costs, and the complex U.S. voting requirements, the Federal Voting Assistance Program leadership called on Booz Allen to help optimize the website.”
Automated scaling, pay-as-you-go pricing models, agile deployment timeframes, testing automation—these were some of the issues Booz Allen’s consultants tackled in a business case analysis weighing alternative hosting providers. They also took into account FVAP’s nonfinancial priorities, such as rapid resource scalability, an elastic pricing model based on usage, and improved support services.
Our developers designed an automated online assistant that helps absentee voters complete the Federal Post Card Application and/or the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot based on the laws of their resident states.
Authenticated FVAP staff can develop and publish web pages using the custom content management capability we developed. As part of the migration, we also designed the hosting and security architecture in Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) GovCloud that increases performance and security.
The successful migration to AWS has significantly improved FVAP.gov’s role as the program’s central hub. More than 280,000 people now use the website every month, with readiness surge support for upcoming election cycles.
The first release deployment took just 4 days—down from 40 days before the change. The automatic demand-based scaling has increased the site’s reliability and availability during election periods while reducing overall hosting costs by 60 percent.
Catching issues with automated testing prevented system outages and saved an estimated 100 labor hours. Our team also improved unit and regression test efficiency and reduced the average monthly defect escape rate by 90 percent in 12 months.
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