Access Democracy

Access Democracy + voting rights news


Florida inspired new group focused on improving how elections are run, Adam Smith, Tampa Bay Times (6/26/2017)

A new group run by two lawyers and veteran Democratic operatives specializing in voter protection efforts is launching a pilot program in Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to work with local elections officials to improve the voting process. Access Democracy, run by Obama's 2012 Florida Voter Protection Director Hannah Fried and Alexis Prieur L'Heureux, wants to help identify problems using specific data and partner with election officials to tackle problems such as long lines as well as support supervisor of elections candidates who want to improve access to voting.

From a Medium post: 

...The problems voters encountered in 2012, in Florida and across the country, previewed what I saw again in 2016. The post-election reports about what went wrong for voters in the 2016 election are just coming out — look forward to a report on this from Access Democracy, later this summer — but the data suggests that approximately one-third of registered voters who didn’t cast a ballot this past cycle wanted to vote, but couldn’t because of election administration problems. We also know that in about 25 states, more than 10% of voters waited longer than 30 minutes to vote. We know that about 26,000 Pennsylvanians may have been disenfranchised because of delays in processing their voter registration forms. We know that officials in Wisconsin refused to follow a court order that would have helped voters get a photo ID — and that a federal court found approximately 300,000 voters lacked the ID necessary to vote. Voting machines are only getting older; the county budgets that keep polling places open and pay for poll workers, are only getting tighter. If we don’t figure out what’s broken, the same problems will play out in 2018 and 2020, and beyond that.

But here’s the thing: with a new approach, we can fix it. In Miami-Dade County, Florida in 2016, Supervisor of Elections Christina White offered 30 early vote sites, a 50% increase from the 2012 presidential election; doubled the number of ballot printers and voter check-in stations; and increased the number of privacy booths where voters fill out their ballot. In a county where voters waited up to six hours to vote four years prior, Miami-Dade broke early vote turnout records and experienced its shortest wait times since the introduction of early vote in 2004....

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