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However, they do provide an idea of how many of America’s missing voters could be engaged through these policies.
Millions of eligible Americans today are either choosing not to vote or are prevented from participating in the electoral process. citizens has hovered between 54 and 64 percent during presidential elections and between 41 and 48 percent during midterm elections.
Voter participation remains low by historical measures. In 2016, falling participation defined the election, as swing states such as Wisconsin and Ohio saw voter participation drop by approximately 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively, compared with 2012.
For example, the effectiveness of more convenient voting options—including early voting, vote-at-home, and no-excuse absentee voting—depends on eligible voters being registered.
As aptly described in a report by the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Barry C.
Nationwide, roughly 6 million American citizens are barred from having their voices heard because of antiquated and discriminatory ex-offender disenfranchisement laws.
Voter suppression tools, including improper voter purges such as those recently upheld by the U. Supreme Court, keep countless eligible Americans from voting each election cycle.And yet, millions of eligible voters are missing from America’s political decision-making process.This may be because of unnecessary barriers in the voter registration and voting process that prevent would-be voters from casting ballots or because potential voters feel alienated from government.For the nation’s democracy to function properly and for government to provide fair representation, all eligible Americans must have the opportunity to vote—and be encouraged to do so.Our collective self-rule is established and fostered through free, fair, accessible, and secure elections through which the voice of every eligible American is heard.However, America can build an election system based on pro-voter policies and practices that drive participation by all eligible voters.To do so, first, barriers to registering to vote and to voting must be eliminated, and reforms must be implemented in order to enable all eligible Americans to cast a ballot that will be securely counted.As this report shows, obstacles to voting and distrust in government have repercussions for representational democracy, leading to participation gaps across demographics as well as elected bodies that are unrepresentative of the broader population of American citizens.To increase voter participation and expand voting opportunities for eligible voters, states have a number of tools available, including those detailed in this report.Taken together, the policies and practices explored in the sections below are proven to increase voter participation and make voting more convenient.The success of these programs depends largely on states’ commitment—as well as that of campaigns and grassroots organizations—to inform eligible voters of their availability, how to use them, and why exercising their power as voters can make a difference in their lives.