Making Democracy Work



Voting Rights & Procedures

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that voting is a fundamental citizen right that must be guaranteed (LWVUS Position March 1982). Current issues are: Expanding Voter Access, Redistricting, Money in Politics, and Fighting Voter Suppression

Tell Congress to Invest in the Safety of Our Democracy
The November election is quickly approaching, and it is imperative Congress provides the necessary funding to transform our election system to respond to this crisis, and ensure voting remains fair, accessible, and safe.
Voters should not have to choose between their health and their vote.

Contact your Senators today and ask them to include $4 billion in funding to secure our elections in the next stimulus package.

COVID ELECTIONS FUND Ensuring Voter Safety During a Pandemic

The League of Women Voters Education Fund launched the COVID Elections Fund to reduce the crippling impacts of the coronavirus on voters.

How Does the League of Women Voters Help?

  • In the coming weeks and months, the League will invest in technology and training to:
  • Protect 4 million voters by working with elections officials to ensure safe and accessible voter options during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Mobilize 1 million voters to cast their votes and make their voices heard
  • Register 500,000 new voters, especially targeting young people and new citizens to participate in our electoral process
  • Support more than 6 million voters through massive online voter education and outreach

See the complete LWV US position in Impact on Issues pgs. 13-28

RI Updates

Expand access to mail ballots this election year
By Jane W. Koster, John Marion and Steven Brown Providence Journal 5/11/2020

Today, we are fighting a different war -- against a pandemic. We again need to change how we vote as we battle this invisible enemy. It is not acceptable at this time to ask nursing homes and schools to open their facilities to serve as polling places.

It is not acceptable to ask thousands of poll workers to expose themselves to hundreds of voters on Election Day. It is not acceptable to ask voters to choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote.

The safest way to protect public health while also protecting democracy is to allow expanded access to mail ballots. They can be cast in the safety of the voter's home and returned through the Postal Service or designated drop boxes. Full Editorial

March 26, 2020
As Rhode Island elections officials move for the first time to conduct a predominantly mail ballot election for the Presidential primary on June 2, three voting rights groups have called on the state Board of Elections and Secretary of State to adopt a variety of policies to ensure that the specially conducted election becomes "a successful experience in preserving the critical constitutional right" to vote "during such trying times."

In a letter to Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and RI Board of Elections Chair Diane Mederos, the three organizations: Common Cause Rhode Island, ACLU of Rhode Island, and League of Women Voters of Rhode Island outlined a series of actions for the agencies to take to "safeguard the health of voters while protecting their right to vote."

Recommendations include

  • Extending the deadline for receipt of absentee ballot applications and voted ballots and allowing them to be submitted postage paid.
  • Requiring only a single witness signature or, in the alternative, signature matching with proper safeguards in place. (Presently, mail ballots require two witness signatures and notarization, an insurmountable barrier for many people who will be homebound or quarantined.)
  • Creating a bilingual voter assistance hotline. Ensuring that an adequate number of polling places are operational to accommodate individuals with disabilities and others who may not be able to vote by mail ballot.
  • Making drop boxes for ballots available throughout the state, something that states that already vote by mail provide.
  • Continuing with critical risk-limiting audits as the state goes through this challenging transition in order to ensure confidence in the tallied results.
  • Requiring municipalities to submit plans for dealing with emergency ballots. The RI Board of Elections is scheduled to meet later this afternoon to begin discussing plans for the June 2 election.

RI History & Positions

Over the years the LWV RI has maintained an intense interest in voting and elections, and conducted numerous studies long before "hanging chads" became part of our national lexicon. Our studies covered: Voter Registration, Mail Ballots, Election Day Procedures, Poll Workers, Polling Places, Early Voting, Unified Voter Registration System, Voting Machines, and Redistricting. Note: Although RI studies pointed to making voting by mail easier, we never dreamed that we'd want to drop in person voting all together.

Prior to the advent of online voter information League members provided Voter Information phone lines on Election Days and prior to "Motor Voter" provided registrars for Voter Registration at schools, businesses, and events.

Links to RI League positions on: Election Procedures, Voting Procedures, Voter Registration System, Voting Machines, Redistricting