On March 3, 2017, Director of Voting Rights and Civic Empowerment Ami Gandhi and Legal Fellow Ryan Cortazar testified to the Illinois House Elections & Campaign Finance Committee about voter access barriers in Illinois. Read their testimony here.
The Voting Rights Project does research and reporting on a range of voting rights, civic engagement and policy issues.
Student leaders in elections: a case study in college poll worker recruitment
September, 2015 - Student Leaders in Elections examines the program of the same name, a successful college student poll worker program—run by the author of the report—in order to identify effective strategies and document the program’s impact. The Chicago Program—branded as Student Leaders in Elections—recruited college students to work in three elections in 2014 and 2015. More than 3,500 students applied and more than 1,500 served, making it one of the largest college poll worker programs in the country.
The Color of Representation: Local Government in Illinois
April, 2015 - The Color of Representation is the first comprehensive report on the representation of people of color in Illinois at the level of cities, counties, and school boards. Local governments affect the practices of the police, the distribution of public resources, and the way that the schools educate the next generation of leaders. You can see the 38 places identified for having elected officials that don't reflect the racial diversity of the community.
Illinois Embraces EDR: A Review of the Illinois Election Day Registration Pilot Program
December 2014 - The Voting Rights Project fielded hundreds of calls about Election Day Registration at the November 4th Election Protection Hotline and collected nearly 300 exit surveys. This report (which directly influenced the drafting of Illinois General Assembly legislation) finds that there is strong demand for EDR in Illinois and that the state should make the program permanent and devote more resources to it to make the process smoother.
Voting Early and Often: An Evaluation of Chicago Democracy Week 2014
April 2014 - Chicago Democracy Week proved that high school students can be just as engaged in civic life as any other segment of the population. This week of civic education programs resulted in nearly 4,000 students registering to vote. The turnout rate of these students in the 2014 primary exceeded that of every other age group except those 46 and older.
Online Voter Registration Rulemaking and Implementation Recommendations
July 2013 - In this letter to the Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, the Voting Rights Project listed a series of recommendations - ratified by a broad coalition of community groups - outlining procedures for implementing Online Voter Registration. The Board adopted recommendations from the letter about requiring professional language translators, community focus-group testing, and notification of registration status (among others).
Illinois State Report of the National Election Protection Program
December 2012 - Using data from the November 2012 Election Protection Program, the Voting Rights Project explained the breakdowns in election administration that occurred in Illinois. This report joined dozens of others compiled and analyzed by the Voting Rights Project's parent organization, the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.