In our three pilot states of Wisconsin, Florida, and Pennsylvania, we're identifying — and solving — local election administration problems that stand between voters and the ballot. The problems local officials and voters face are unique to the situation on the ground, and the solutions need to be, too.
Voting before Election Day: In 2016, a court decision expanded in-person absentee voting. But opportunities to vote in person before Election Day were not equally available to all voters throughout the state, impeding voter participation.
Electronic Poll Books: In June 2017, the Wisconsin Election Commission voted to develop electronic poll book (e-poll book) software, an innovation that supports poll workers and can expedite voter check-in. But using e-poll books successfully requires robust training and implementation of best practices.
- Partner with allies in state to advocate for additional early vote locations. Apply data analytics and geospatial information systems to determine optimum number and location of in-person absentee voting locations in target areas.
- Ensure that e-poll books are equally, effectively, and securely implemented.
Unregistered voters: Millions of eligible Floridians aren't registered to vote, and Florida's rules for voter registration drives are some of the strictest in the country. In October 2017, the state is launching online voter registration, which has the potential to increase voter participation, save taxpayer dollars, and make the voter rolls more accurate. As with any new technology, it's critical to ensure that the state is ready for the rollout, and that it's taking steps to protect voter data and privacy; to make the website accessible to voters with disabilities; to sustain anticipated website traffic; and to inform Floridians about the new system, including with multi-lingual voter education materials.
Inaccessible polling places, limited early vote days and hours: In 2016, counties in South Florida placed polling locations inside gated communities that were closed to non-residents; other counties didn't offer the full days and hours of early vote that Florida law authorizes, making it harder for voters with childcare or work responsibilities to make it to the polls.
Polling place resources: In 2012, election officials' decisions about how many voting machines, ballot printers and other resources to allocate among polling places caused 6-hour lines in Miami.
Long lines: 200,000 voters walked away from their polling place because of 2012's long lines.
- Advocate for secure and effective implementation of online voter registration, launching October 2017.
- Employ data and analytics to identify county-specific challenges in election administration, carve out appropriate solutions, and leverage resources to fill the gap (e.g., support recruitment of county poll workers).
- In advance of 2020 elections, support candidates for Supervisor of Elections who take a pro-voter position and want to expand access to voting.
Long lines: 1 in 5 respondents to a poll after the 2016 election reported waiting in line to vote for 30+ minutes in Philadelphia. 7% reported waiting in line for 1 hour or more.
Slow voter registration process: In 2012, 12,294 Philadelphia voters did everything right— but still were forced to cast a provisional ballot. In 2016, 26,000 voters were potentially disenfranchised by delays in processing voter registration applications.
30-year-old voting technology: Voting machines in Philadelphia county were designed in 1984. A 2015 request by City Commissioners to purchase new machines was denied.
- Work with state and local election officials to (1) streamline polling place operations and shorten voter wait times, (2) loosen restrictions on how voting resources can be allocated, and (3) provide more flexibility to local election officials to make decisions based on their community's needs.
- Analyze machine breakdown logs and voter wait times recorded in November 2016 to demostrate the connection between old machines and long lines and lost voters.
- Together with on-the-ground partners, advocate for additional resources to process voter registration applications in person and online.