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Our Constitution promises every eligible American a full and equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Unfortunately, defects in election administration and procedures undermine that promise by disenfranchising countless eligible Americans every election cycle. These defects can be remedied, and the promise of democracy restored, by implementing real reforms to ensure that all eligible Americans have a fair and equal opportunity to vote and to have their votes counted. This memorandum sets out a comprehensive reform agenda for the 110th Congress to achieve that goal and explains the reasons for each policy reform.

This memorandum provides elaboration, support, and background for “An Agenda for America’s Voters,” a comprehensive proposal to Congress on how best to use its Constitutional authority to regulate elections, endorsed by dozens of organizations. This agenda is the product of years of research and experience by a variety of organizations and institutes focused on civil rights, voting rights, and civic participation. Over the past few years, these organizations have created an extensive record of the problems voters face as they attempt to register, vote, and have their votes counted. The following recommendations are designed to address those problems, to promote the integrity of elections, and to ensure that our electoral process serves all American citizens. The recommendations are organized into the following five subsections: (i) measures to improve the voter registration process, (ii) measures to improve electronic voting systems, (iii) measures to prevent disenfranchisement on or near Election Day, (iv) measures to improve the administration of elections, and (v) measures to expand the franchise.