Washington, D.C. – Today, Democracy Fund, in collaboration with Reed College Professor Paul Gronke, released a new report on Understanding The Voter Experience: The Public’s View of Election Administration and Reform. It shows that while most Americans approve of the job their election officials are doing and trust the results of the election, confusion about voting processes and lack of information about candidates are the top reasons people decide not to vote. Recognizing the information gap between voters and local and state election officials, Democracy Fund is also proud to announce the relaunch of electionline.org—a crucial resource for trusted, politics-free news and information about the people and processes that guide our nation’s elections.
“Understanding the experiences that American voters face during an election cycle is key to improving the electoral system and increasing voter turnout,” said Natalie Adona, Senior Research and Learning Associate with Democracy Fund’s Elections Program. “Our data provides insights into the voter journey from beginning to end: individual level decisions to vote or not, general awareness and familiarity with voter registration requirements, and the public’s trust and confidence in U.S. elections.”
Highlights from Understanding the Voter Experience, include:
- The public ranks election administration well in terms of trust when compared to other institutions—outranking Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Press. In 2016, 95 percent of people gave a good or excellent job performance ratings for their poll workers and nearly 60 percent gave high rankings to their local election officials.
- 87 percent of respondents were confident that their own ballot was counted as cast in 2016, but only 71 percent were confident in the national vote count.
- In general, people understand they are responsible for their voter registration, but nearly half of the respondents were confused or unfamiliar with their state voter identification requirements.
- 30-40 percent of respondents consistently felt they did not have enough information to vote on key races like state attorney general, secretary of state, and state senator.
“Far too many respondents felt that they did not have enough information to vote,” said Adam Ambrogi, Director of Democracy Fund’s Elections Program. “Democracy only works if the American public understands how to vote, has enough information to make informed decisions, is confident in our election process, and trusts the results.”
As part of Democracy Fund’s commitment to fostering a modern, trusted, voter-centric election system, it is also unveiling the new and improved electionline, which continues to be the only place to find state-by-state curation of daily election administration news. In addition to publishing the classic electionline Weekly newsletter, the website will also share original reports and exclusive content from leaders and experts in the field—making the site a must-read for local election officials, civic organizations, and journalists who cover elections.
ABOUT DEMOCRACY FUND
Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that our political system can withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Since 2011, Democracy Fund has invested more than $100 million in support of a healthy democracy, including modern elections, effective governance, and a vibrant public square. To learn more, visit www.democracyfund.org or follow @democracyfund.
Electionline is America’s only nonpartisan, non-advocacy clearinghouse for news and information about the people and processes that guide our nation’s elections and a hub for sharing tools, best practices, and innovative ideas for improving the voting experience. A project of Democracy Fund, electionline aims to support voter-centric elections that are accessible, fair, and secure. To learn more, visit www.electionline.org or follow @electionline.