Blog

  • Tales from the US Vote Help Desk: Meet The Volunteers

    Voting should be simple. It should be easy and efficient. It should allow any eligible citizen to claim their right to vote without difficulty.

    It is not. Voting in the US is complicated, especially due to state-by-state differences that make it hard to participate in the most basic democratic process.

    Now, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, voters who would normally go to the polls on Election Day are seeking out other options. And that can be overwhelming.

    No one knows this better than the people who answer voters’ questions and help guide them through the process. Meet Gabe and Pam, staffers on the U.S. Vote Foundation and their Overseas Vote help desks.

  • Vote at Home Tips for Newbies: Ballot Party, Anyone?

    It’s possible that, like many of this year’s voters, you’re voting from home for the first time. Good for you. You may even be voting for first time, period. Even better. There’s a lot of good reasons to vote at home – safety in the midst of a pandemic being the main one these days. Another great reason is convenience: a vote at home ballot can be mailed in any time after it’s been received as long as it’s well before the November 3 election. (We’ll discuss when to actually mail in the ballot in a minute, but ASAP is a good rule of thumb.)

    We at US Vote think there’s a third reason – though admittedly we’re biased. A real ballot, unfolded on your kitchen table, is actually pretty cool. Ballots are the raw material of democracy, the warp and weft of our society. Each one is collection of civic lessons, the blueprint for a civic society. A teaching and learning moment.

    But we digress.

    For those of you who might actually be voting for the first time, be prepared to be confused: Sorry, our democracy is a bit messy, and not only are the ballots themselves confusing, the information packets that come with them aren’t always as helpful as they should be. We’ve seen plenty of county guides that contradict state guides, with information about candidates that don’t necessarily apply to the ballot in front of you. Sometimes there’s nothing about a candidate, race or referendum at all – unfortunately. We warned you it could be messy.

  • Voting during a Disaster: How to Vote by Mail When The Mailbox is Gone

    The news has been pretty grim if you live on the West Coast or the Gulf Coast: fires, hurricanes, evacuations, the loss of homes and businesses. The twin threat of seasonal fires and hurricanes are a constant reminder of the fragility inherent in the interplay between civilization and nature.

    With both fire season and hurricane season still upon us, : thousands have already lost their homes, and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated. Many of those evacuated were able to return to their homes, but all too many are now permanently displaced. And while access to voting is not necessarily the highest priority in situations when life, home and hearth are literally at risk, it’s important to know that those who want to vote still have options even if “vote at home” is no longer feasible.

    The main issue is how to get a hold of that ballot if there’s no longer a voter mailbox to which it can be delivered. As ballots are generally not forwardable – for obvious security reasons – obtaining a ballot will take some effort.

  • FedEx Launches Special 10-Country Next-Day US Ballot Return Program

    FedEx Steps Up for Overseas Voters


    FedEx has announced:

    "For the upcoming US election, FedEx Express offers a fast, reliable way for Americans abroad to send ballots home. US voters living in 10 European countries can now take advantage of a special rate for overnight return of their absentee ballot.

    From now through November, FedEx International Priority service for envelopes up to 500g sent to the USA costs just €25 from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark (kr.186), Poland (112 zł), Sweden (260 kr), and the United Kingdom (£23)."

    Special Instructions to Access the Discounted Price:

    • You must book online to access the discounted price.
    • You must create an account and set up payment by credit card to access the discounted price.
  • Too Young to Vote? That Doesn’t Mean You’re Too Young To Help Get Out the Vote

    One of the true pleasures in being part of a non-partisan get-out-the-vote organization is the interest that young people show in what U.S. Vote Foundation does in order to make sure Every Citizen is a Voter. Even though our motto is technically about every eligible citizen, young people who are under the age of 18 and not eligible to vote can still have an impact on the voting process for this election and in the future.

    Engaging young voters isn’t just a good idea: it’s essential to the success of our democracy. Young people lag behind other age cohorts in voting, and while the 2018 mid-terms were a watershed in youth vote turnout, the totals are still embarrassingly small: only 28 percent of all eligible voters between the age of 18-30 voted in 2018. As this age group represents approximately 35 percent of the total electorate, the largest single group of voters overall, this means that almost 10 percent of the electorate was missing action in 2018. That’s greater than the margin of victory in most major races.

    So, even if you’re under 18, it’s not too early to get involved and get started on the road to actually casting a ballot when you come of age.

  • US Vote and Overseas Vote: Proud to Support Our Uniformed Service Members Since 2004

    One of the things we’re most proud of at U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) and Overseas Vote is our longstanding role supporting the efforts of uniformed services voters and their families to participate in the electoral process, regardless of whether they’re stationed overseas or stateside.

    That role continues today with a wide range of services that active duty military personnel can access to ensure their vote gets counted.

    Our services include:

    We also have a Voter Help Desk where voters can find answers to most frequently asked questions and ask our experts to help you with specific voting problems.

  • US Vote Announces New Ex-Offender Voting Rights Resource

    NEW! Ex-Offender Voting Rights Clarified

     

    If you've been convicted and lost your voting rights, you can restore your right to vote in every state! 

    In partnership with Hip Hop Caucus, U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) has created a comprehensive, up-to-date, easy-to-understand resource to guide voters through the ups and downs of ex-offender disenfranchisement.

    There are variations in how the states address voting by ex-offenders and those with misdemeanors. Take nothing for granted - get informed. US Vote has made it easier for you. We created a new resource to allow voters and policy makers to easily navigate and understand the complex patchwork of laws regarding ex-offender disenfranchisement and re-enfranchisement.

    Additionally, US Vote has worked hard to include all aspects of criminal disenfranchisement for all Americans, all in one place! This means that the US Vote Ex-Offender Voting Rights resource includes information on misdemeanor disenfranchisement, not just felony disenfranchisement, and includes US territories, not just the states. Check it out today!

  • NEW! Early Voting Dates Chart – available now

    Early Voting and In-person Absentee Voting: Two Important Voting Options Explained.

    One of the biggest issues facing the electorate in the run-up to the November 3 General Election is the question of how to vote, and in particular, how to vote safely in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, this has spurred an enormous interest in alternatives to showing up at a polling place on Election Day. While many voters are deciding to vote-by-mail, it’s not for everyone. 

    This where early voting and in-person absentee voting come in. These voting methods provide alternatives that you may want to consider.  

    US Vote is excited to announce our new Early Voting Dates Chart that you can consult to see your state’s available options.

  • College Student Voting Information Blog Post

    A College Student’s Take on the Voting Process

    Balancing college life is tough. Fulfilling extracurricular commitments, maintaining a social life, earning money, and caring for physical and mental health all pile on top of meeting the demands of coursework itself. So when a student seeks to vote, to engage themselves in the democracy they live in, to make their voice heard, no obstacles should stand in the way. But in today’s America, navigating the voting process for college students is a chore in and of itself.

  • Introducing theSkimm's New Ballot Request Site (developed by US Vote!)

    Those of you who log on to U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) and Overseas Vote for help in getting your ballot or contacting your local election official may be surprised to know that we have another important mission: helping other organizations, companies, and even states provide the same services to their members, customers, employees, and constituents. We do this by licensing the data and services that power this very website. This allows us to provide hosted systems and widgets to create a customized website experience that provides US Vote’s voting services directly to the licensee’s website, while mimicking the website’s look and feel.

    We're very excited to announce our partnership with theSkimm to provide licensing data and services that make it easier to request your absentee ballot, navigate your state-by-state voting options, and get in touch with your local election official."