Please check out the new Voting Rights and Voter Suppression: Navigating State and Local Barriers to the Ballot from Access Democracy and Indivisible 435. The guide covers specific steps anyone can take to help make voting more accessible for every eligible person. Quoting a study by Charles Stewart, a political scientist at MIT, that found more than 1 million Americans weren’t able to vote in 2016 because of problems like long lines at the polls, mail ballots not arriving on time, and registration problems, the guide covers 4 specific areas of action:. That’s 1 million people who wanted to vote and couldn’t—in an election decided by fewer than 80,000 voters across 3 states.
The way elections are run is a mix of federal and state law. From Alaska to Florida, officials at the state and local level are charged with implementing voting laws and rules. These officials work year-round to set up and manage elections, not just on Election Day. You don’t often hear about these officials, and that’s because most of them just want to make sure elections run right. But state and local officials don’t always have access to the resources they need to drive the result we all want: fair, equal, and easy access to the ballot.
The challenges that voters face are often a result of decisions made by these election officials. Just like with any public official, it’s critical that the officials who implement your state’s voting laws and rules hear from their communities. By letting your state and local election officials know that you care about the right to vote, you can have an impact on the decisions they make to ensure fair, equal, and easy access to the ballot—for every voter in your state.
Your election officials need to know that we demand fair, equal, and easy access to the ballot. This guide covers 4 simple steps you can take today to change how elections are run in your community and protect the right to vote for every eligible American:
- Call your Statewide Election Official—so that you can better understand how elections are run in your state—and ask the official to use his or her power to make it easier for all eligible Americans to vote
- Call your Local Election Official—so that you can better understand how elections are run in your community—and ask the official to use his or her power to make it easier for all eligible Americans to vote
- Become a Poll Worker—a friendly knowledgeable poll worker can be the difference between a citizen successfully voting and a voter being inadvertently turned away from the polls
- Register, Register, Register—the first step towards participating in our democracy is to register; so register everyone you know, everywhere you go!