With no federal elections in 2019, Every Vote Counts is focused on making an impact on voting rights. This year, we and our chapters will be promoting pro-democracy ballot initiatives and supporting legislative voting reform efforts, while fighting to expand ranked-choice voting and the "Time Off to Vote" movement.
Putting Democracy on the Ballot
In the 2018 elections, states from Florida to Nevada and Maryland to Michigan passed initiatives addressing issues like redistricting, voter registration, and the re-enfranchisement of felons. Most of these pro-voter and pro-democracy initiatives passed easily, and many received bipartisan support, running ahead of statewide candidates from either party.
With that in mind, Every Vote Counts is looking to help put democracy on the ballot in 2019 and 2020. We believe the success of pro-voter and pro-democracy ballot initiatives in the fall of 2018 showed that taking such questions of reform directly to voters can be an effective strategy at a time when courts and state legislatures have been hesitant to address the same, much needed reforms.
Supporting Legislative Voting Reform Efforts
The energy for voting reform is not restricted to states that allow ballot initiatives. Bills to expand voter access have been filed or pre-filed in at least 31 states, and we and our chapters are excited to support those efforts, especially those that will make it easier for students and young Americans to vote. From student specific reforms, like ensuring that student IDs are an acceptable form of voter ID, to broader reforms, like no-excuse absentee voting and automatic voter registration, EVC will be working to bring down unnecessary hurdles and expand access to the ballot.
Expanding Ranked-Choice Voting
Ranked-choice voting (RCV) generated lots of headlines in 2018, and for good reason. After being used in numerous cities around the nation, RCV was implemented in a federal election for the first time in Maine, and led to a fairer and more representative election. By allowing voters to indicate their order of preference among all the candidates in a race, RCV ensures that the winning candidate is the one preferred by the most voters.
In 2019, our chapters will be working to familiarize young voters with RCV by bringing it to campus elections. We are also supporting efforts to expand RCV in local, state, and federal elections across the country.
Fighting for "Time off to Vote"
You shouldn't have to choose between going to work and casting a ballot. The movement to grant employees time off to vote has been gaining steam, with the percentage of companies offering paid leave jumping from 37 percent to 44 percent from 2016 to 2018. We believe that EVC can help continue that push. As students and future employees, our chapter members are uniquely positioned to demand and benefit from employers providing their employees with paid time off to cast a ballot. Learn more about our initiative here.