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Round Two: a visually-impaired voter tells her latest story

by Pauline Ugalde - Second in a Series

Reflecting on the 2018 mid-term elections, I decided to write about how I felt my experience as a visually-impaired voter impacted my voting rights. Furthermore, how it complicated what should be a simple process, what my observations were, what feedback I could give, and finally, to compare it to the process of voting in the 2016 elections.

As in the last election, I traveled to my closest voting precinct to vote instead of voting by mail. I was optimistic about the prospect of using the audio-based voting machines. I hoped that they had been improved since 2016, or even better, replaced with machines that use the same accessibility technology that visually-impaired people use in their daily lives. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Turnout in Local Elections: Is Timing Really Everything?

This ABSTRACT of the original article, Turnout in Local Elections: Is Timing Really Everything? by Melissa Marschall and John Lappie in the Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy Vol. 17, No. 3 copyright and published by Mary Ann Liebert Publishers, Inc. The complete article is available here https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/elj.2017.0462

Though it is often assumed that U.S. local elections are uniformly low turnout events, there is actually considerable variation across space and time. Building on literature on local turnout and broader theories of political participation, this study examines more than 1,000 California mayoral elections held between 1995 and 2014. We analyze how two specific features of the local electoral context—election timing and contestation—provide information, stimulate interest, mobilize voters, and ultimately shape turnout. We argue that high turnout may not mean much if voters have no decisions to make and explore the possibility that the effects of contestation may vary depending on whether elections are held off- or on-cycle.

GoVoteBot is back for the 2018 Midterm elections!

Dear Readers - US Vote is proud to feature this blog from one of the best civic tech solutions developers we've had the honor to meet: R/GA and their brilliant team.

Every American has their own highly-personal reasons for voting. Whether health, family, safety, income, or education, we aren’t voting for politicians, we’re voting for our personal interests and ideals. Despite our polarized reasons, many voters struggle with figuring out how to vote. It’s hard! America’s electoral system is complex, nuanced, and very frustrating.

R/GA’s challenge? To create a solution that allows everyone (everywhere) to vote for whatever it is they want using a non-partisan campaign that keeps everyone’s pre-election concerns in mind.

The Widget Hits the World: Greenback Expat Tax Launches Overseas Voter Ballot Request

By Carrie McKeegan, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenback Expat Tax Services

Greenback Expat Tax Services is proud to partner with Overseas Vote Foundation and help boost expat voter registrations amongst Americans living abroad. We care deeply about all the issues expats face – not just taxes – so partnering with Overseas Vote is another way Greenback upholds its commitment to serving and advocating for the 9 million expats around the world.

We believe that US expatriates are passionate about the US and care deeply about its future. In our 2018 US Expat Survey, which received input from 3,800+ US expats around the world, we found that 63.7% of Americans living abroad planned to vote in the November elections. These votes could play an important role because many states are won in too-close-to-call elections. American expats have a profound influence on the outcomes. With so many tax changes coming down the pike, it's crucial that expats rock the vote!

The voting process from a unique perspective: a first-time, visually-impaired voter tells her story

By Pauline Ugalde

The midterm election season is about to peak and I would like to address the voting process from a unique perspective: that of a first-time, visually-impaired voter and how that initial experience informs my decision to vote again in the upcoming midterm election.

Over the years, I have noticed how people have primarily focused on the mechanical, physical process of voting versus a voter’s individual voting experience, let alone why they vote, or the emotions invoked by participating in this act which makes the United States a democratic nation. I intend to address the accessibility of preexisting voting systems and the emotions surrounding the occasion. In short: my reasons for voting profoundly affected my reactions to the act of voting itself.

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Press Releases

The Big Deal 2018 Social Media Challenge Targets Young Voters to Get-Out-The-Vote for the Midterm Election

New Viral Marketing Campaign Recruits Experienced Voters to Reward Younger Voters

LOS ANGELES, CA, - October 24, 2018 -- U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) and Hook Studios launched The Big Deal 2018 Midterm Mobilization viral marketing campaign today with an intent to give a last minute push to younger voters to get out the vote. Similar to the wildly popular “Ice Bucket” challenge, The Big Deal 2018 relies on a challenge and reward “deal” to motivate young voters to follow through and cast their ballots on Election Day.

Watch the Video

The Big Deal 2018 is an unorthodox appeal for a very serious problem: turnout among voters under 30 is alarmingly low in the midterms. In 2014, fewer than 1 out of 6 young people voted.

Michael Steele to Lead U.S. Vote Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 9, 2018 -- U.S. Vote Foundation's Board of Directors unanimously elected Michael Steele, Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), as Chair of U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) and its Overseas Vote initiative. His appointment will strengthen the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and support its work to advance its mission to make Every Citizen is a Voter, a reality.

“With the 2018 midterm election now underway, Mr. Steele's leadership and skill at driving engagement will positively augment our outreach efforts,” US Vote President and CEO Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat. “His breadth of communications experience and insight into the political and media establishment will help us keep our finger on the pulse during this important midterm election year.”

“This is the ideal time for me to take the reigns at US Vote and work with the organization to reach out to more voters, getting them involved in the voting process. We have the tools and services at US Vote to help every US citizen to engage in our democracy with voting as a central action,” stated Mr. Steele. "I'm truly looking forward to helping more people make their voices heard at the ballot box."

U.S. Vote Foundation Welcomes New Board Members and Interim Chair

Marcia Johnson-Blanco and Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro Join U.S. Vote Foundation Board; Michael Steele appointed as Interim Chair

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 19, 2017 - U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) has elected two new members to its Executive Board: Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-director, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Deputy Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, UnidosUS. Both new members served since May 2015 on US Vote’s Advisory Board. Michael Steele, who has served on the board since March 2016 was appointed as Interim Chair of Board.

US Vote CEO Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat said, “It is an honor to have two new members of our board with such breadth of professional expertise in the realm of voting rights and outreach to diverse communities. They bring real election and voting advocacy muscle coupled with individual talents that will serve our organization immeasurably. In addition, we are all grateful to Michael Steele for taking the lead as we mobilize for the midterms.”

U.S. Vote Foundation to Tackle a Nationwide Data Problem

New Local Elections Data Resource and API

NEW YORK, NY, January 18, 2017 – U.S. Vote Foundation’s (US Vote) twelve year investment in development of its election data and API technology will be used to address a vast and unmanaged data challenge: Local Election Dates and Deadlines. The announcement was released at the Knight-Civic Hall Symposium on Tech, Politics and the Media.

“Ask anyone if they know the date of their next local election and what it is about, or how to find out? They cannot tell you. People are not participating in the elections that direct affect the quality of their lives. We are poised to unlock this data and fix that problem,” states Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, US Vote’s President and CEO.

A Knight Foundation Prototype Fund grant for “Local Election Dates and Deadlines (LEDD) Data Resource and API” served to kick-start the program.

US Vote Announces 2016 Election Day Voter Experience Survey Highlights

January 16, 2017 - The 2016 Election Day Voter Experience Survey, conducted by U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) together with its Overseas Vote initiative from Nov 8-11, 2016, provides new insights into approximately 12,000 voters’ actual experiences of casting a ballot (or not) through six different voting methods, both domestic and overseas.

Highlights / Key Findings

Among the many new insights, certain findings stood out:

  • Satisfaction and Motivation – 76% of all respondents indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the voting process; and in a rating from 1 to 5, with 5 highest, overall voter motivation was 4.6%
  • Online Ballot Delivery Dominates for Overseas Voters – For the first time ever in a general election, overseas absentee voters in the 2016 election were more likely to receive their blank ballots through an electronic method (72%) than through postal mail

View Your State Voting Requirements & Election Deadlines