Voting is a pillar of our democracy that has helped keep our government accountable for hundreds of years. As generations of activists fought and died to protect and expand the right to vote, we won ourselves a more inclusive and representative government. We all know about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s marches in Washington D.C. and Selma, Alabama during the civil rights movement, and we all learn about the suffragettes and the 19th Amendment in school. Yet, today in the 21st century, voter access remains a challenge in our democracy. Because, while all Americans have the right to vote, the reality is that many are consistently prevented from doing so. This must change. 

To preserve our national values and ensure our government functions properly, we must fight to guarantee that every American has not only the right to vote, but the resources to exercise those rights.

What we measure matters. If we’re only getting input from those who are able to vote, we’re ignoring the needs of the over one hundred million Americans who didn’t make it to the ballot box. To build a better democracy, we need reform.

If you don’t believe that we need voting reform, just look at our most recent presidential election. In 2016, only 55% of eligible voters cast their ballots. That puts America, a model of modern democracy, behind almost every European country, as well as Mexico, South Korea, Israel, Canada, and Australia when it comes to voter participation. To me, this is a national embarrassment. America is the leader of the free world, and our elections should reflect that. If we want a truly representative democracy, we need true access to the ballot box.

My plan to help every single American vote will dramatically increase voter turnout and create a more functional and representative democracy. It will allow America to point to its elections as a model for the democratic process that aligns with the values we are bound to fight for at home and overseas.

My approach is 4-pronged:

  1. The myth of voter fraud can make it more difficult for millions of Americans to participate in the voting process and exacerbates voter suppression. Combating voter suppression requires limiting voter roll purges, prohibiting voter ID laws, limiting last minute changes to polling locations, implementing automatic and same-day voter registration, accepting mail-in ballots, requiring early voting, and counting all provisional ballots.
  2. We need to expand the electorate and ensure access to the ballot box for every American. We will protect the integrity of our democratic process through the elimination of discriminatory laws and initiatives to increase voter participation across the board. 
  3. America’s confidence in the value of a vote is dependent on trust in our institutions and the security of the infrastructure that make our elections possible. It is imperative that there is adequate funding directed to election security and the ongoing research necessary to keep our elections fair and free. 
  4. Every American should know that their vote matters. We must ensure that every American realizes the power of their vote and implement policies to change attitudes around voting, including ranked-choice voting, Democracy Dollars, and ending partisan gerrymandering. 


1. Combatting Voter Suppression

Voter suppression policies like voter ID laws, voter roll purges, limited polling locations, and onerous signature matching requirements are typically justified as a way to combat voter fraud. Here’s the problem: voter fraud is practically nonexistent. An American is more likely to get struck by lightning than commit voter fraud.1 99.9% of “voter fraud” cases investigated turn out to be administrative or clerical errors.

This voter discrimination cannot be tolerated. The federal government needs to set nationwide standards for our federal elections to ensure that no eligible voter is prevented from voting. The following initiatives are targeted at combating specific voter suppression practices enacted in both federal and state elections across the country.

Amend the Voting Rights Act

The historic achievement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965 made it possible for millions of Americans to vote for the first time, disabling a variety of discriminatory laws. Unfortunately, in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Supreme Court overturned a single section of the VRA. The absence of this section reduced federal oversight, allowing 846 jurisdictions to change their state voting laws and close or move local polling places in a discriminatory way.2 Poll closures make it challenging for low-income voters to cast their ballots. 

We first need to amend the Voting Rights Act Section 4(b) to require states to receive permission from the Department of Justice before changing certain voting laws, and then I would direct the Department of Justice to bring suits against restrictive laws.

As President, I will…

  • Work with Congress to amend the Voting Rights Act to require states to receive permission from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before changing certain voting laws or polling locations.

Limit Voter Roll Purges

Voter purging disenfranchises legitimate voters and can create confusion and delays in the voting process. Purging has increased by 33% over the last decade, mainly in counties with an established voting discrimination history. In 2015, Alabama alone purged 16% of it’s nearly 4 million registered voters.3 We need to take steps that ensure that every eligible American vote can cast their ballot on Election Day. 

As President, I will…

  • Regulate voter roll purges that disenfranchise legitimate voters and delay the election process. Regulations will require states to:
    • Notify the public before conducting voter roll purges.
    • Notify voters who have been purged in a timely manner so they can correct the error before the next election.
    • Establish procedures that allow wrongly removed voters to vote on Election Day.

Automatic and Same-Day Voter Registration

All U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote, not just the ones who jump through the various hoops required by their state. The modernization of voter registration can help the 50 million eligible American voters who aren’t registered to become more easily involved.4

Automatic voter registration utilizes existing government entities to gather reliable information about eligible citizens automatically registers them to vote. This system creates an infrastructure for increased accuracy of voting records and establishes an electronic system that is cheaper and easier to update. Not only does it make the voting process more convenient for voters, it has shown to increase voter registration rates by over 60%.5

Same-day registration is another form of modernized voter registration that enables eligible citizens to submit their ballots with more ease. 21 states have enacted same-day registration,6 which allows any qualified resident of the state to go to register to vote and cast a ballot all on the same day. States that have implemented this option have seen a 3% to 7% increase in voter turnout.7

In order to improve voter participation, we have to ensure that we provide every eligible American access to a convenient and secure way to register to vote.

As President, I will…

  • Work with Congress to set automatic voter registration requirements for federal elections.
  • Require all federal elections to offer opportunities for same-day voter registration.
  • Provide funding to states to update their voter enrollment systems to electronic ones, and to integrate with federal systems, as well as each other, to ensure up-to-date voter information and easy transfer of data.

Prohibit Voter ID Laws

Strict voter identification requirements across the country are depriving many voters of their right to vote. Of course, the lawmakers who write these laws and voters who use their identification in their everyday lives don’t think this is a big deal. However, low-income households, the elderly, transgender individuals, minorities, and people with disabilities (PWD) are more likely to be disenfranchised by these laws because they are more likely to experience difficulty obtaining the underlying documents necessary. 3.6% of registered white voters lacked proper ID, compared to 7.5% of black registrants.8 The transgender community is disproportionately affected by these laws. 57% (approximately 78,000) of transgender people may not have identification or documentation that accurately reflects their gender, making them ineligible to vote.9

Processes to change names or gender markers on identification can be expensive, difficult, and vary from state to state. For individuals who do not have traditional identification like a driver’s license or passport, states are legally required to provide a process for them to obtain some form of voter ID. However, states can purposely make it difficult to obtain voter ID by severely limiting the days that their ID offices are open. The most extreme example includes a location in Sauk County, Wisconsin where the office is only open on the fifth Wednesday of every month10 (which equates to four days of the entire year). 

Nationally, 25% of African-American voting-age citizens lack a government-issued photo ID, compared to 8% of White voting-age citizens.(11) The income gap plays major role in explaining this difference. Obtaining a government issued ID can easily cost $75 to $175 in transport fees, waiting times, and paying for supporting papers like birth certificates, which are not as easily accessible to minority communities living in poverty. When states enact voter ID laws, their turnout decreases by 2-3% and primarily affects ages 18-23, new voters, and African-American voters.12

More than three-quarters of older voters between the ages of 65 and 74 are registered to vote, and more than 60% of those aged 85 and above cast a ballot in the 2016 election.13 Despite large voter turnout of the elderly population, who take their civic duty seriously, stringent identification laws are making it more and more difficult for them to participate in the voting process. Whether that means finding transportation to renew their expired driver’s license or scrambling to find a birth certificate that was issued 80 years ago, older voters are also becoming targets of disenfranchisement. 

Identification problems should not bar Americans from voting. We must remove discriminatory voter ID laws that deny thousands of otherwise eligible citizens the opportunity to participate in the democratic process. 

As President, I will…

  • Through the Voting Rights Act, require states to get permission from the Department of Justice before implementing any voter ID laws.
  • Direct the DOJ to prohibit all voter ID laws that disenfranchise underrepresented communities.

Early Voting and Vote By Mail

Many Americans are taking time off from work to vote, only to experience absurd lines, understaffed polling stations, and hassles with voter ID requirements. Mail-in ballots and early voting not only help the working-class American, but also those who are unable to make it to a polling station, including but not limited to the ill, physically disabled, or those working poll stations. 

Two-thirds of states now offer some form of early voting,14 giving Americans the ability to cast their ballots at less crowded polling stations and with reduced wait times. This provides significant relief to poll workers and increases voter turnout, especially of underrepresented populations. 

Thirty states have enacted no-excuse absentee voting, which allows citizens to submit their votes by mail at designated polling locations.15 This allows states to save millions of dollars because they don’t need to establish polling places or pay polling staff, and it increases voter turnout of younger, older, poorer, and minority voters. 

However, onerous matching requirements of names or signatures have led to the rejection of thousands of legitimate votes. Legal, financial, and societal barriers do not always make legal name changes easy. These requirements create barriers to people with disabilities, women who have married or divorced, and transgender people. In Florida, over 5,000 vote by mail ballots were rejected for signature requirements.16 In Georgia’s gubernatorial race, hundreds of absentee ballots were rejected without first giving voters a chance to fix the problem because of suspected signature mismatches.17 Young voters are also more likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected because they did not use their handwriting enough to develop a steady signature.18

Early voting and mail-in ballots contribute to the convenience and participation of citizens in the democratic process. We need to extend these opportunities to all Americans and do away with restrictions, like name and signature matching requirements, that work against it. 

As President, I will…

  • Implement a federal law that requires all states to integrate voting by early voting and mail-in ballots to their voting process.
  • Require states to eliminate onerous name and signature matching requirements that lead to the rejection of legitimate votes without giving voters the opportunity to fix these issues. 

Polling Locations

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of the Voting Rights Act, polling stations have been vanishing, especially in locations with high populations of minorities. In a city in Alabama, council members eliminated 60% of the polling locations within the nearby African American district, but left open 100% of the polls in the white-majority districts.19 Fewer polling stations substantially decreases voter turnout,20 and drastically increases long lines at the polling stations. In addition, last-minute changes to polling stations force voters to figure out where their new polling stations are and rearrange their transportation plans or schedules accordingly. These abrupt changes limit access to polling stations and deter Americans from showing up.

As President, I will…

  • Limit last minute changes of polling stations to only situations of true exigent circumstances. 

Provisional Ballots 

Provisional ballots are supposed to act as fail-safe ballots when voters run into problems at the polls, but many of them are not counted. Over 220,000 provisional ballots were discounted in the 2016 presidential primaries. State variation of voter eligibility requirements can determine whether or not 100 or 100,000 provisional ballots are rejected. In the 2016 presidential primaries in Maricopa County, Arizona, 24,630 provisional ballots were rejected because voters were not registered with a political party.21 These ballots are the final votes counted before determining the outcome of an election. Unclear state directives about how to count provisional ballots should not be the cause of the unfair disqualification of thousands of votes.  

As President, I will…

  • Establish a provisional ballots guideline for all states to follow to ensure all legitimate ballots are accounted for, and that there are the same guidelines in each state. 


2. Expanding the Electorate and Ensuring Access to the Ballot Box

It is the government’s job to do everything in its power to expand the electorate and foster participation in the democratic process. We need to not only stop current voter suppression tactics, but we also need to recognize how voting laws might disproportionately impact specific communities. By recognizing these effects, we can enact specific initiatives that ensure participation and expand voting access for all. 

Native American Voting Rights

For decades, our voting system has disenfranchised and discriminated against Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Restrictive laws that require traditional street addresses and voter ID laws that do not accept tribal identification make voting registration difficult for Native Americans. Limited polling sites and resources require that Native Americans travel great distances to vote, sometimes up to 150 miles.22

The federal government can do much more to establish greater support for Native American voting rights. As part of establishing laws to combat voter suppression tactics like voter ID laws and limited polling locations, we need to pass legislation like the Native American Voting Rights Act23 that carves out specific provisions that address Native American and Alaska Native voting issues. These specifics need to include requiring polling stations to be located near reservations, states to accept tribal ID cards for voting purposes, and alternative address options for those who reside on reservations.

As President, I will…

  • Support passage of the Native American Voting Rights Act to extend greater federal support for Native American and Alaska Native voters.
  • Require polling stations to be located within 20 miles of reservations.
  • Require states to provide address registration alternatives for reservation residents. 

Voting for People With Disabilities (PWD)

People with disabilities face basic physical barriers in accessibility to the polls. Simple barriers like stairs can make it so that many voting-eligible people can’t make it to the polls. In the actual voting booth, a lack of assistive technology can make it impossible for some PWD to accurately cast their ballot. Implementing advanced technology would make the voting process more efficient and accessible to people with disabilities. All polling locations need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and should be vetted for accessibility issues before each election. Vote by mail initiatives can also play a huge role in ensuring PWD have access to casting their vote.

As President, I will…

  • Provide states with the funds necessary to ensure that all polling locations and voting methods are accessible to PWD. 
  • Ensure that vote by mail programs specifically target PWD voters.

Restoration of Voting Rights for Felons

6.1 million Americans cannot vote due to a felony conviction and are therefore denied the right to cast their vote in an election. Felony disenfranchisement exacerbates racial disparities. 1 in 13 black Americans have lost their right to vote vs. 1 in 56 white Americans.24 State laws vary wildly as far as re-enfranchisement is concerned, with some never disenfranchising felons, and others permanently disenfranchising them. This patchwork of state laws is inherently unfair, as citizens are treated differently depending on their location.

America’s criminal justice system should be built around the idea of rehabilitation whenever possible – that means during the incarceration period and after. By restoring full voting rights to felons during incarceration, who have not deprived someone else of their right to vote, and ex-felons who have completed the entirety of their sentence, we’ll increase their engagement with society. This will improve their lives drastically, for obvious reasons. It will also make the rest of us safer, as some studies have shown that ex-felons who vote are half as likely to reoffend. By giving these individuals a larger stake in society, we make our entire country stronger.

As President, I will…

  • Restore voting rights to individuals convicted of felonies and prohibit states from denying ex-felons the right to vote. 
  • Restore voting rights for current inmates unless they have deprived someone else of their right to vote.
  • Prioritize all initiatives to expand and restore voting rights in the U.S. to the previously and currently incarcerated.

Lower Voting Age to 16

While the 2018 midterm elections saw the highest turnout in a non-presidential year since 1914, the turnout was still under 50%. Presidential election turnout hovers between 50% and 65%. This is low. While reforms making it easier to vote should be implemented as well, we can also increase civic engagement and regular voting by lowering the voting age.

Studies show that allowing younger people to vote has positive impacts on overall voting habits.25 Localities that have lowered the voting age have seen an increase in voter turnout across all age groups. Other studies have shown that delaying when a person first votes (because of birth dates and election cycles) decreases the likelihood that they will become a regular voter.

At 16, Americans don’t have hourly limits imposed on their work, and they pay taxes. Their livelihoods are directly impacted by legislation, and they should therefore be allowed to vote for their representatives.

Additionally, because of election cycles, there’s a level of unfairness that comes with what year a person is born. Senators are on a 6-year cycle, and the president is on a 4-year cycle, not to mention local offices. Someone born at the wrong time in a cycle would have to wait much longer to cast a ballot for certain offices than someone born at another time. While that’s true if the voting age is lowered to 16, it decreases the age at which the person is first allowed to vote for that office, thus allowing them to have a longer period of their life where they feel represented.

As President, I will…

  • Lower the voting age for federal elections to 16.

Make Election Day a Holiday

Everyone eligible to vote on election day should be free to do so. However, as highlighted by the disproportionate impact of voter ID laws and inconvenient polling locations, the lower the income that an individual or family has, the greater the barriers they face to voting, resulting in significantly lower turnout.26 Too many Americans are unable to take time off from work, as they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck or are hourly workers who can’t lose the time. 

We should make Election Day a federal holiday on the second Tuesday of every November. Doing so will dramatically increase voter turnout and the voice of the American people in government. 

Establishing the second Tuesday of November every year as a federal holiday will ensure that everyone has the ability to vote in local elections, which often take place outside of the presidential election cycle. 

Let’s listen to the 71% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans27 who already support the idea of celebrating a federal holiday on Election day and give Americans a day off to exercise the most essential duty of democracy.

As President, I will…

  • Make Election Day a federal holiday on the second Tuesday of every November.


3. Election Security

Our citizens must be able to cast their votes without fear that they will be compromised by foreign hackers or lost by bad software. We must recognize that the greatest opportunity to prevent voter misrepresentation lies in updating outdated infrastructure. By freeing states from reliance on decades-old machines that were phased out in other states for poor security and clumsy user interface, we can build a safer, easier voting process.

In the context of voting, user interface is a matter of national importance. Old machines reduce the number of voters who actually finalize their vote, because confusing instructions frustrate them, and voters leave before their vote can be recorded. These machines also lack the critical security measures that protect votes from hacking and manipulation.

We need new investments to make our voting systems secure and usable. This will both ensure that voters are able to exercise their civic duties with ease, and allow them the peace of mind that their vote will not be compromised or lost.

Fund Ballot Box Security

Like the rest of America’s infrastructure, voting is chronically underfunded. This leaves our democracy open to attack. My administration will fund the development and rollout of new, more secure machines that aren’t open to attack.

This threat is not hypothetical. In the recent past, internet-connected machines have been hacked and used to print out fraudulent ballots.28 Additionally, Russia was able to hack into voter databases across the US.29 Ballot security is national security, and we must ensure that Russia and others who wish to do us harm do not have an open door into the machinery of democracy. To prevent successful attacks, new machines should be disconnected from the internet.

Beyond removing our machines from the internet, we will build a system in which every vote leaves a paper trail. Paper backups are critical in cases of hardware failure and guarantee that a vote won’t be lost on account of a software bug. Additionally, paper provides a record of the vote that can’t be hacked or easily altered. Optical scanners that read paper ballots and store them electronically are a great way to combine the security of paper with the ease of technology.

As President, I will…

  • Increase federal funding toward ballot box security so voting machines cannot be hacked and have a paper trail for mandatory audits.

Give States All the Money they Need

No matter how safe and effective voting machines are, they won’t have any effect unless voters have access to them. Voting security cannot only be practiced by the federal government, it must happen at every level. To connect voters with secure, well-maintained machines and functioning polling stations, the federal government must give states the resources they need to procure and install this technology at every voting station. We must also fund more post-election audits to detect any attempts to interfere in the democratic process.

Despite the $380 million round of grants given to states last year by the federal Elections Assistance Commission,30 states need much more to cover all the costs that voting security demands. For example, to replace all electronic paperless voting machines in Pennsylvania, it is estimated they will need $50.4 to $79.1 million statewide,31 far more than the $13.5 million provided by Congress. My administration will make it clear in Pennsylvania and every other state that money isn’t an obstacle to a secure democracy.

Safe elections require more than responsible machines, they require responsible humans. My administration will work with states and voting staff to guarantee they are trained in best cybersecurity practices, including threat detection and reporting. By bringing together the best that humans and technology have to offer, we can ensure every American has access to a secure ballot box.

As President, I will…

  • Increase federal funding so all states have the money they need for secure voting machines, maintenance, and staffing polling locations.

Invest in Cybersecurity 

As we focus on the elections of today, we must not fail to prepare for those of tomorrow. The threat of cyber attacks is always growing and evolving, so we must keep up to date on every development to maintain secure election infrastructure.

Looking to the future of voting, we must consider what options we have to make voting more secure and accessible. My administration will research developments in e-voting, including mobile voting. If this technology proves truly secure and viable, its use would dramatically boost voter participation and reduce the costs of local, state and national elections. 

We will also invest in the cyber security apparatus as a whole to not only keep our voting infrastructure safe, but also defend our power grid, defense sector, and government from hackers.

As President, I will…

  • Invest in cybersecurity research for the future.
  • Research modern e-voting practices that guarantee security.


4. Change Attitudes Around Voting

To change our country’s relationship with voting, we’ll need to do more than just provide access; we’ll need to change attitudes. We can enhance every American’s faith in government by getting them more involved in the process, but first we must build trust.

Americans are rightfully worried that casting a ballot doesn’t matter, because powerful special interests and poorly drawn district lines will minimize their voice. When citizens do vote, they’re hesitant to pick the candidates that actually represent their interests, because they’re “throwing their vote away” on someone who isn’t likely to win. 

To build trust in government, we need to get big money out of politics for good, and allow voters to elect representatives that reflect their values, not the lesser of two evils. Perception is important, and when Americans realize the power they hold in shaping our nation’s future, we will have a country built of political participants instead of political spectators.

Ranked-Choice Voting: Aligning Our Votes with Our Values

Why do we accept a system that leads us to feel that we’re voting for the person who is going to do the least bad instead of the most good? It’s because our all-or-nothing voting system forces us to pick candidates we think can win, regardless of how well they align with our values.

Our system doesn’t just force us to make moral compromises, it makes it almost impossible for 3rd party candidates to run without damaging the campaigns of like-minded parties, and pushes more extreme fringe ideas to the top by minimizing coalition building.

We can do better, and under my administration we will, by implementing ranked-choice voting. Ranked-choice voting allows each voter to rank their top three candidates, from 1 to 3. After this is complete, every voter’s first choice is tallied. If one candidate received over 50% of the vote, they win the election. If no candidate hits the majority threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Then, everyone who listed that eliminated candidate as their first choice has their second choice considered, a process which continues until someone breaks 50%.

This way of voting has been shown to increase voter turnout, better reflect voter values, encourage moderate politics, and decrease negative campaigning. With ranked-choice voting in place, we will no longer have to vote for the lesser of evils, but for the better of leaders.

As President, I will…

  • Push the DNC to adopt a ranked-choice voting model for all democratic primaries.
  • Work with Congress to adopt ranked-choice voting for all federal elections.

Flood Out the Money in Politics

Voters are concerned about money in politics, and they should be. A handful of wealthy individuals can now raise their voices louder than millions of ordinary Americans put together. The flood of money in politics has led to increased mistrust and disenchantment in our government, and rightly so. Big money in politics is far more likely to support candidates who will protect the interest of the wealthy that elected these candidates in the first place.

We can and should apply more regulations to political financing, including repealing Citizens United, but we must also recognize that no matter what we do, money will try to find its way back in. Since we cannot totally eliminate the role of money in politics, we have to be creative in diminishing the influence that wealthy donors and corporations have on campaigns.

The simplest way to do this is to provide Americans with vouchers they can donate to political campaigns. Every American should get $100 a year to give to candidates in federal, state, or local races; use it or lose it. These Democracy Dollars would, by the sheer volume of the US population, drown out the influence of mega-donors.

A candidate who runs their campaign on Democracy Dollars will have no debts to pay to special interests when they take office. They can act primarily in the interest of the people they represent instead of appeasing wealthy donors and corporations.

As President, I will…

  • Provide every American voter with $100 Democracy Dollars for each election cycle, a voucher that they can use to support candidates of their choosing:
    • This amounts to $23+ billion nationwide per election, allowing the will of the people to out-fund the $6.5 billion spent on federal races in 2016, $1.6 billion of which was Dark Money.

Ending Partisan Gerrymandering

Partisan gerrymandering has plagued our nation for generations, and is a threat to the very basis of our democracy. By manipulating district lines to separate different voting blocks, parties are able to maintain control of state legislatures, even when a large majority of the state supports the other party.

We need to put control of our democracy back in the hands of the people, and we need our politicians to reflect the will of the constituencies they represent. If we don’t remove the politics from the drawing of district maps for voting purposes, we’ll continue to have representative bodies that don’t actually represent the population and promote the agenda of a smaller and smaller proportion of the population.

We must move to a system that draws district lines independently, without the input of politically motivated actors. This is essential in ensuring that minority parties don’t hold onto power by changing the rules of the game.

As President, I will:

  • Promote the use of the efficiency gap to measure partisan gerrymandering when evaluating and drawing district maps.
  • Promote the use of independent redistricting commissions (a nonpartisan, supermajority commission, similar to California’s).
  • Appoint Supreme Court justices who support the use of sociological tools such as the efficiency gap to help end partisan gerrymandering.


These voter access policies are a no-brainer and necessary to advance our democracy. Let’s get it done America.

– Andrew



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