Blog

  • Early results from US Vote’s 2020 Voter Experience Survey: Voters’ Perceptions of Election Integrity and Confidence are Higher, and Less Partisan, Than Many Think

    One of the unfortunate narratives coming out of this complex election year has been a raft of accusations about the integrity of the election process. The concerns have spanned a gamut of issues: from fears of foreign interference and the casting of fraudulent ballots to concerns about the accuracy of the final ballot count. Underlying these general concerns have been intimations of a partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats that pits one set of partisans who embrace the narrative that the election was deeply flawed and therefore invalid against another side that maintains that everything went well. 

    Not so fast. It turns out, like many aspects of this election, simple black and white comparisons across party lines don’t necessarily tell the whole story.

  • Soothing Thoughts for Nervous Voters

    The election season is coming to a close. Can we honestly say: it’s about time? With less than a week left until Election Day, it’s probably safe to say some voter fatigue is setting in. With the pandemic as backdrop, aided and abetted by the relentless doomsday scenario-spinning that many news outlets and social media accounts are exacerbating, 2020 has been a wild ride to say the least. And to say the ride will be over on Nov. 3 would be just another piece of fake news: even if we have a solid winner shortly after Election Day, the chaotic nature of this election won’t go away for a while.

    So, as the antidote to doomscrolling and handwringing, we’d like to offer a little hope and a little optimism about what lies ahead.

  • It’s Not Just About the White House: Down-ballot Voting is Important Too

    While record numbers of voters are planning to cast a ballot this November – or are doing so right now, depending on the availability of early voting and mail-in balloting in your state – a troubling question is starting to emerge: will these voters, many of them first time voters, vote for more than who they want to see sitting in the White House come January 20?

    The issue of a lack of “down-ballot voting,” as it is called, is hardly new. In a typical presidential election year, when barely 50 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, a third or more of those voting don’t bother to fill out the entire ballot. While this will be by almost any measure a very atypical election, the question remains whether that same 30 percent of ballots will be about only one race and none other.

    The good news is that voters don’t have to vote for everything on the ballot in order for the votes they do cast to be valid. Which is how it should be. But the bad news is that not voting down-ballot for state and local representatives and not voting on local issues – school bonds and referenda and funding for police and social services – means wasting an opportunity to have the broadest impact possible.

    And that impact actually extends all the way back up the ballot as well. Not voting locally doesn’t just leave important issues up to a small minority of eligible voters, it can have a huge impact on future national elections in ways that may not seem obvious at first. Which is why we’re here to encourage you to fill out a much of that ballot as possible.

    Here’s our top three reasons to fill out that ballot from top to bottom:

  • 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.

  • 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

    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's Voting Rights Restoration Resource

    Voting Rights Restoration 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 formerly incarcerated citizen disenfranchisement.

    There are variations in how the states address voting by formerly incarcerated citizens and those with misdemeanors. Take nothing for granted - get informed. US Vote has made it easier for you. We created a 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 Voting Rights Restoration 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.