democracy is a work in progress

Voting Rights, Gerrymandering, Voter Suppression, and more

Problem Brief

Tools2020-09-01T11:33:12-05:00

Tools & Resources

What can you do to make sure your vote counts and your voice is heard? Or to make sure that we foster a voting process that makes it easy and encourages everyone who is eligible to cast their vote? The following tools and resources offer a variety of ways to do something – just find the one or two that suit you and click.

Get information and express your expectations for the November 2020 election

Contact your state’s Secretary of State to find out what they are doing to make the November election safe, secure, and well-run. In most states, the Secretary of State is responsible for managing elections.

Find your state election office with this helpful search tool from USA.gov.

Find your local election office using this look-up page on the US Federal Voting Assistance Program website.

Find your polling place. Vote.org provides links to each state’s (and DC’s) polling center locations.

Get personalized voting information on your registration and your state’s voting deadlines, how to register and vote absentee, check your registration status, find out what’s on your ballot, and more. Enter your address and VOTE411 will connect you with your state’s tools and resources.

See what you can do on the VoteSaveAmerica website – vote by mail, be a poll worker, or volunteer.

Make it easier to vote

Be a nonpartisan poll monitor. Volunteer to be a nonpartisan poll monitor with Election Protection, a project led by Common Cause and coordinated by a coalition of more than 100 local, state, and national organizations.

Demand safer, more secure elections. Tell your governor to do what’s necessary to ensure safe, secure elections in November via this page provided by FairVote.

Vote by mail in your state. This tool from Represent Us will tell you whether you can vote by mail in your state and, if you can, how to get your ballot. If you are not eligible to vote by mail, it offers steps you can take to help expand vote by mail in your state.

Best practices and strategies for vote at home. The National Vote At Home Institute has loads of resources including best practices and a strategy for expanding vote by mail in time for the 2020 general election in November.

Giving employees time off to vote. Led by a broad range of businesses, Time to Vote is a movement committed to ensuring that hourly employees and those without paid time off do not have to choose between voting and earning a paycheck.

Voting rights for all Americans. Though overtly motivated by partisan concerns to elect Democratic champions of voting rights, iVote is committed to securing voting rights for all Americans. Editor’s note: Until the Republican Party begins to act on its concern over voter fraud by offering proposals to make efforts to expand the vote more secure – rather than using unfounded claims of fraud to dismiss such efforts outright or otherwise hindering them, we cannot fault iVote for their partisan sentiments.

Election Performance

MIT Election Performance Index. Originally developed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, this tool shows whether your state has made improvements to its election process and how its performance compares to other states and to its own performance in different election years. It also offers a detailed look at specific performance indicators for each state. This is a very simple tool to navigate.

For election administrators

Voting Technology Project (VTP) Toolkit. From MIT and Caltech, this site offers election administrators a variety of tools to help plan and conduct elections.

ElectionTools.org. This site offers communication and administrative tools for election officials.

For voters

I Side With. Take a quiz on where you stand on different issues and this site’s very cool AI will analyze your responses to determine which presidential candidate you side with.

Atlas of Redistricting. FiveThirtyEight has created an interactive map that provides the ability to look at each state and what different ways of drawing district lines would look like. If we reject partisan gerrymandering, what takes its place – ensuring competitive elections, minority representation, simplified (more “fair”) borders?

VOTE411. Vote 411 offers ballot information for local, state, and federal elections. Confirm that you’re registered, find your local polling place, see who/what is on the ballot.

Vote.org. Find everything you need to make sure you’re ready to vote: confirm/complete your registration, get your absentee ballot, request election reminders, and if you’re too young to vote, pledge to register to vote and get a reminder when you turn 18.

TurboVote. Used by colleges and universities to register students, TurboVote makes it easy to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and registration and election deadlines and where to go to vote.

BallotReady. This site tells you who your current elected officials are and who will be on the ballot at the next election.

Nonprofit Vote. Like the name says, this site helps nonprofits engage the people they serve in voting and elections with a variety of useful tools and resources.

GovTrack.us. GovTrack helps everyone learn about and track the activities of the United States Congress. This is a project of Civic Impulse, LLC. GovTrack.us is not a government website.

Project VoteSmart. Project VoteSmart provides free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials to all Americans. It aims to give you the information you need to vote smart.

US Election Assistance Commission. The EAC offers assistance to election officials as well as voters, including a page of resources for voters with disabilities.

Contributors: George LinzerMichael Deal

Reviewed by: Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress

Published: December 5, 2019

Updated: March 5, 2020

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Expansion of Voting Rights Storyline

Voter imageThe right to vote in America is a fundamental democratic liberty – it is one of those rights that we fight wars to defend. Yet, when the nation was founded, voting was almost exclusively reserved for propertied white men. Since then, voting rights have slowly grown more inclusive, expanding to an ever broader cross-section of the American public, but this progress has almost always been hard won.

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