With Election 2012 in the rear-view mirror and 2014 - and 2016 - looming soon, the League of Women Voters recently released our comprehensive Election Improvement Agenda report, which identifies central challenges facing our complex and outdated election system and provides a targeted action plan for overcoming the fallout from recent state-based voter suppression attempts and the Supreme Court ruling gutting the Voting Rights Act. The report draws upon the insights and localized field reports provided from the front lines by the League’s nearly 800 state and local volunteer activist teams nationwide.
Even as our electorate grows ever more diverse, League advocates and our partners have witnessed an undeniable and systematic assault on voters’ right to participate, the likes of which we have not seen since the Jim Crow era. At the same time, our nation continues to suffer from an under-resourced, desperately outdated and increasingly complex election system in dire need of modernization.
Building on key successes over the last few years, our Election Improvement Agenda sets in motion the League’s plans to continue to overcome the unprecedented and well-organized state-level voter suppression efforts taking place nationwide. It also lays out the League’s roadmap for taking advantage of practical opportunities to build election systems that meet tomorrow’s needs, including continuing to bring in millions of new voters and advocating for solutions that make our elections free, fair and accessible for all Americans. The plan includes several goals to accomplish in advance of the 2014 midterm elections through coordinated work at the national, state and local levels including:
- Urgent federal advocacy to restore and protect the Voting Rights Act and also seek opportunities to help states implement key provisions of the landmark the National Voter Registration Act;
- Statewide campaigns to fight back against the effects of coordinated voter suppression attempts;
- Pursuing opportunities for common-sense election improvements like early voting, online voter registration, and more;
- Registering 100,000 new voters by the end of 2014; and
- Providing educational materials and fact-based tools to millions of voters who need them.
The lessons from 2012 are clear: despite the many challenges voters face, Americans believe that our democracy is worth fighting for - and participating in. Time and time again, volunteer League activists have proven essential to overcoming these challenges and forging a path forward. Just as they have for over 90 years, Leagues in nearly 800 communities in every state are steadfast in their commitment to improve our elections process and increase voter turnout in 2014 so that our electorate more fully represents the diversity of our communities.
For more information on these plans, download the full Election Improvement Agenda here. We look forward to working with our partners and allies as we continue our path toward improving the election experience for all Americans.