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Voter Enfranchisement

Voter participation is paramount to a strong democracy. As access to voting has been under attack across the country, in particular on the state and federal level, there are multiple ways cities can help expand voting for its residents. Actions include building infrastructure, helping residents gain needed documents to register, creating accessible early voting locations, sustaining outreach and registration, lowering the voting age for local elections, and more.


By finding creative ways to engage a city’s residents, they can play an integral part in enfranchising voters and strengthening our democracy. 

Deepening Our Democracy: How Localities Can Expand Voting Rights, The Center for Popular Democracy, January 26th, 2018. Read more.

What Can Cities Do to Increase Voter Turnout in Local and Mayor Elections?, Jason Jurjevich and Phil Keisling, Medium, January 26th, 2018. Read more.

Expanding Voting Rights, Local Progress: The National Municipal Policy Network, January 26th, 2018. Read more.

Map of the Month: Who Votes for Mayor?, Chris Bousquet, Data-Smart City Solutions, October 31st, 2017. Read more.

Voter Advocates Say There’s a Way to Increase Turnout, Bill Bradley, Next City, October 26th, 2017. Read more.

Vulnerable Communities Lose Critical Documentation in Natural Disasters’ Wake, Teresa Mathew, CityLab, September 1st, 2017. Read more.

Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research, Zoltan L. Hajnal, Nazita Lajevardi, and Lindsay Nielson, The Washington Post, February 15th, 2017. Read more.

Election Integrity: A Pro-Voter Agenda, Myrna Perez, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, January 1st, 2017. Read more.

Young Voices at the Ballot Box, Generation Citizen, January 1st, 2017. Read more.

The case for allowing 16-year-olds to vote, Zachary Crockett, Vox, November 7th, 2016. Read more.

Increasing Turnout in City Elections: Is Timing Everything?, Public Policy Institute of California, March 1st, 2002. Read more.

Takoma Park, MD has not only had non-US citizen voting since 1993 in local elections, but they also recently lowered their voting age to 16 in local elections. The goal is to engage youth into the political process at a much earlier age.


Minneapolis, MN passed an ordinance that requires property owners and managers to provide all new tenants with information about how to register to vote at the time they move in. This is in addition to extensive voter outreach and education efforts.


Madison, WI has a robust early voting process, which helped it become the only municipality in the state to see an increase in voter turnout in the 2016 fall election cycle. The goal was to make voting as accessible as they can, and it seems they have succeeded.


New York City, NY integrated voter registration into every interaction a resident has with a city agency. 


East Lansing, MI has also passed a city ordience, requriing landlords to provide voter registration information and forms to new tenants. 


Houston, TX has been "Serving Up Voter Registration." They've worked with Taco food trucks to help in voter registration efforts. 


To get young voters registered in Broward County, FL, they launched a high school registration drive for those of age, and passed their goal.  


Seattle, WA launched a Mayors Task Force on political participation by immigrant communities. This was one of the first steps of a multi-approach effort to grow voter and civic participation.


Getting to and from the voting booth can be a tough task for many. Because of that, Durham, NC launched GoDurham providing free bus rides on election day.


Matthew Braunginn
(608) 262-6585

For more resources on how to expand access to voting in your city, view presentations and video here from the Winter 2018 Policy Meeting, as well as briefing book materials here