Voter Support – Helping Americans Overcome Barriers to the VoteVoter Support – Helping Americans Overcome Barriers to the Vote
Voter Support involves helping Americans overcome obstacles to voting. These challenges can be caused by factors such as long wait times at polling places, fewer opportunities to vote by mail, limited accessibility at polling places for people with disabilities, and the difficulty of understanding information about candidates and their platforms. Americans are deeply divided over how best to address these problems, but most agree that the most important step is ensuring that every eligible American can exercise their right to vote without barriers.
To ensure that all citizens can vote without obstacles, the federal government works with local and state agencies to provide information about voter registration and voting procedures. Voters can find out where and when to go to the polls by checking their local board of elections website, or by calling the office. Voters with questions can also call the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Voting Rights Section.
The Center for Voter Information provides resources to help voters locate and navigate their polling places. Voters can also request an absentee ballot from their local board of elections. When requesting an absentee ballot, it is recommended that the requestor include their driver’s license or other form of identification with their application. For voters who do not have a driver’s license or ID, they can submit a written explanation of their circumstances and sign a “reasonable impediment” declaration in addition to presenting another form of identification.
Many Americans are disproportionately burdened by barriers to the ballot box, especially those in rural areas and those who lack access to transportation or have physical or mental health conditions. The Center’s Voter Support Initiative leverages the full spectrum of the government’s assets to support these communities in their efforts to increase voter participation.
In our latest national polling, the overwhelming majority of Americans support reforms to make it easier for everyone to exercise their right to vote. In particular, Americans are highly supportive of requiring states to follow national redistricting standards, requiring that corporations disclose their donors, and allowing people convicted of felonies to vote after they have served their sentences.
Americans are also overwhelmingly supportive of other elements of the For the People Act, our bipartisan bill to restore democracy and give voters more power over their elected officials. Almost 80 percent of voters support provisions to protect election offices from intimidation and interference, and to create standards for handling election equipment.
In addition to our work to support the most vulnerable voters, we are working with social service organizations and the social work profession to integrate voting engagement into training for social workers and other human services professionals. To this end, the Humphreys Institute offers a free online course for professionals, and we are developing resources that can be used by individuals or groups. For example, we are creating a toolkit of resources and strategies that can be used by schools to inform their students about voting options and how to register.