It is critical for citizens to know that they can have a say in state government by casting a vote and having it counted. Yet the continued shift of voting rights battles to the states highlights that where one lives too often determines his or her ability to participate in this fundamental exercise in democracy. In analyzing accessibility of the ballot, this report identifies two key findings: first, the highest ranking states in this category have significantly higher voter turnout – on average, almost four percentage points higher than the lowest ranking states; second, that states previously covered by Voting Rights Act preclearance requirements perform poorly in this category – none of the nine states that were covered in total by preclearance requirements receives a grade higher than a D+ in this accessibility of the ballot measures.

This category’s ranks and grades draw on a number of factors that indicate whether citizens in a particular state have convenient, accessible ways to exercise their right to the ballot or whether unnecessary roadblocks are thrown in their path. There are countless metrics that can create differences in accessibility of the ballot among states. These particular factors were chosen because of their effect on voters and the voter experience and because the majority of them are policy driven.

Policy Recommendations

Click through the Accessibility factors to the right of the map to view specific policy recommendations for each area. Click here to see a full list of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report.

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