The Leadership Conference Education Fund Expands Voting Rights Work Through Partnership with Access Democracy

Categories: Press Releases, Voting Rights

For Immediate Release
Contact: Shin Inouye, 202.869.0398, inouye@civilrights.org

Collaboration aims to increase voter participation by improving local election administration

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference Education Fund today announced the expansion of its voting rights work through a new partnership with Access Democracy, a leading non-profit organization working to improve election administration. The collaborative effort aims to increase voter participation by improving how elections are run at the local level.

“We need to ensure that the right and ability to vote is protected at all levels, and this new collaboration will help ensure just that,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Education Fund. “The right to vote is foundational to our democracy, but if eligible voters face insurmountable obstacles to exercise that right, it is meaningless. For too long, African Americans and other communities of color have faced systemic barriers to accessing the ballot. We are proud to have Access Democracy join us at The Education Fund so we can work to increase voter participation by improving local election administration.  Together we can help ensure that all communities have access to the ballot.”

“Denying voters access to the ballot through under-resourcing is a civil rights issue, plain and simple,” said Hannah Fried, executive director of Access Democracy. “This collaboration with The Education Fund will enable us to have a much greater impact to address problems with election administration, and ultimately make it easier for Americans to vote.”

The collaboration, which will make Access Democracy a project of The Education Fund for a three-year term, complements the litigation and legislative work of national, state, and local voting rights organizations, while providing institutional support for Access Democracy’s unique focus on the challenges voters face when they go to vote.

Problems with election administration, such as long lines and broken voting machines, block access to the ballot for millions of Americans. These problems can be solved by changing the way elections are run at the local level, where city and county officials make decisions that impact a voter’s ability to cast a ballot.

Access Democracy works to fix local election problems by using data to pinpoint a county or city’s specific voting problems and finding solutions that fit that community’s needs and its budget. Access Democracy works with local officials to implement solutions, including:

  • Advocating for additional early voting locations;
  • Ensuring that polling places have enough voting equipment to keep wait times short; and
  • Making sure that technological improvements like online voter registration are equally, effectively, and securely implemented.

The Education Fund, the communications, field, and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, works with coalition partners at the national, state and local levels to inform the public, decisionmakers, and the media about the need to restore the Voting Rights Act and the importance of modernizing the nation’s election systems so that everyone can register and vote.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit http://leadershipconferenceedfund.org.