Making It Easier for All Americans to Vote
Voting is the cornerstone of American democracy, but our election system is challenged by persistent barriers to voting and unprecedented new threats. The Elections program works toward a strong and modern voting system where all eligible citizens are motivated to vote, can do so with ease, and can reasonably trust that election outcomes are legitimate.
Accessible, Efficient, and Secure
Voting is the single most significant way Americans exercise our political power. But the tight races and charged politics of the past two decades underscore the importance of making sure our voting systems are well run, secure against threats and mishaps, and geared toward the genuine and diverse needs of American communities.
What’s more, with some exceptions, registration and turnout are disappointingly low — and so is voter confidence in election results, particularly at the national level. Voter trust is further eroded by a legacy of disenfranchisement and suppression that continues to this day, as well as by an uneven embrace of effective and efficient voting practices across states and districts.
The Elections program works to ensure that all Americans, especially those who have been historically underrepresented at the polls, have the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process and freely vote for the candidates and issues that represent their communities. All Americans should be able to access a modern voting system that is easy and secure and expects that their vote will be faithfully counted.
The challenges are varied and unlikely to be resolved with a one-size-fits-all solution. Accordingly, our approach is multifaceted and collaborative. We engage in research and develop feedback from the field, advocate for innovative ideas to modernize elections, invest in organizations working on voter-centric reforms, collaborate with local election officials to help improve processes, and support litigation to protect civil and voting rights.
Election program strategies are designed to increase the quality of election planning and execution, mitigate risks to secure elections and credible outcomes, and reduce the practical and structural barriers to voting for a higher and more representative turnout.
American democracy is strongest when all eligible voters are able to participate. Unfortunately, confusing and cumbersome election processes — as well as outright voter suppression — too often act as deterrents to voting. The Pro-Voter Reform strategy helps to create a more equitable and accessible election system and empowers communities to defend voting rights where they are threatened.See how we’re collaborating on voting reform
In America’s decentralized election system, local officials have an awesome responsibility: orchestrating a voting experience that is secure, efficient, and accessible to all eligible members of the eligible public. The Voter-Centric Election Administration strategy works to help local election officials get the data, tools, and connections needed to ensure voters’ voices are heard.Learn how we support officials at the helm of elections
With a host of new challenges to election integrity — including cybersecurity threats and disinformation — the Trust in Elections strategy works to create more secure elections where more people are motivated to vote and everyone can trust that results are fair and accurate.Explore our investments and collaborations
Through research, stakeholder meetings, and interviews, we found that the United States election system is structured by three categories of dynamics that create pressures for change, both positive and negative. These are: election processes; politics, law, and policy; and voter engagement. The Election Administration and Voting map is a tool that welcomes engagement by researchers, media companies, government and nonprofit agencies, funders, and others. This map is not the final statement of the election system, but rather captures our current understanding of its key dynamics.
News and Resources for Elections Professionals
Electionline, a project of Democracy Fund, is the nation’s only nonpartisan, non-advocacy clearinghouse for election reform news and information. A resource for local election administrators and reporters, it provides timely updates on national and election legislation, training and tools, connections to state associations and professional conferences, and expert perspectives from across the field.
Other Areas of Focus
Democracy Fund strengthens and defends democracy through three core programs and a number of term-limited special projects.
American democracy depends on a government that represents the interests of the people in all of our diversity — one that is prepared to act on our behalf and that is held accountable when it does not. However, extreme polarization limits our ability to achieve shared priorities. Partisan politics and significant institutional decline have led to government dysfunction and gridlock. Our Governance program promotes the principled leadership and strong institutions our governing system needs to act in the interests of the American people.Learn more about this work
Just and Inclusive Society is a special project that brings diverse organizations and groups together to work for a common good, create safe and secure communities, decrease polarization, develop a sense of shared identity, and defend Constitutional norms under attack.Learn more about this work
No matter where they live or who they are, Americans should be able to get the news and information they need to engage in civic life and to use their voices without fear of being harassed or silenced. The rapidly evolving media landscape presents new challenges and opportunities for our communities. Our Public Square program responds by supporting trustworthy local news and investigative reporting, more equitable newsrooms, press freedom, community engagement, and digital spaces that advance democracy, not hate.Learn more about this work