Experts predicted the 2020 general election would shatter voter turnout records. Now, with COVID-19, it’s clear the US electoral system is not prepared to support that unless we make it easier and safer to vote.
In response to this pressing need, the Center for Popular Democracy and Local Progress have released a new toolkit aimed at empowering local elected officials and advocates to expand voting rights in their jurisdictions.
The toolkit, titled Protecting Elections from the Ground Up: How Local Elected Leaders Can Make it Easier and Safer to Vote During COVID-19, highlights the power that local jurisdictions have in reforming prohibitive barriers to participation in elections — especially for underrepresented groups. It focuses on reforms that expand voter registration online, expand vote from home options, and incentivize public employees and students to serve as poll workers on election day.
The toolkit recognizes that local officials are closest to the actual administration of elections, and in some states, they can make significant election policy decisions, in addition to the implementation tools at their disposal.
Many of the reforms have already been implemented successfully in several cities, with the toolkit highlighting the opportunities and challenges they may face in different localities.
This tool is a product of a larger grassroots movement to build a popular democracy through voting rights reform. By identifying areas that need to be improved and opportunities to do so, local elected officials and advocates can make strong cases for pushing local legislation that will address these needs.