The Franchise Project: Taking Action for Voting Rights

About

The Franchise Project is an organization developed to inform Americans about voting rights pertaining to each state. On the website, you will notice various ways of getting involved, including signing petitions, receiving regular updates, and finding specific information on taking action in your own state. With the organization’s core focus on grassroots action, it provides various resources for contribution and embodies the primary goal of grassroots organizations: to get folks involved.

Current Projects and Involvement

Currently, The Franchise Project’s top priority is to get as many people as possible to sign a petition against the Pence-Kobach Commission, led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach, who is notorious for voter suppression. The Pence-Kobach Commission was established by the Trump administration in order to find evidence of Trump’s alleged three million illegal voters in the 2016 election and to support the expansion of policies that would suppress the vote.

The Commission’s first action was requesting private voter information from all 50 states. Some of the information being requested for release included names, birth dates, party registration, voting history, and even Social Security numbers. Officials in almost every state publicly declined to release all requested information. In response, on July 1st, 2017, Trump tweeted: “Numerous states are refusing to give information to very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?”

Many Democrats responded by expressing concerns about ulterior motives coming from Pence and Kobach and defending the functionality of their state’s election systems. In Kansas, the process of unnecessarily obtaining this personal data was abused by Kobach to suppress the vote of predominantly Democratic groups. The website provides information on how to contact your state election administrator if your state is complying with the Commission’s request.

There are several other resources available on the website to all. People can access the Voting Access Scorecard, which scores each state based on ballot accessibility. The score is determined by current state laws and restrictions on voting. On the map, you can click on any individual state and proceed to press the “take action” button, which will bring up a variety of options for getting involved with voting rights advocacy. The website also aims to spread awareness and knowledge of state voting laws by making them accessible with the click of a button.

There is also an option to become a Poll Worker. Poll Workers are essential for an election to run smoothly. However, many states fail to train them properly, thus resulting in mistakes and issues. Pay and recruitment requirements vary, which changes how well elections go in each state. For this reason, there are longer lines and more delays on election days, deterring people from voting at all. It is essential for people to step up and volunteer to become Poll Workers. Many senior citizens currently volunteer, however, some aren’t as experienced with the updated systems as necessary for everything to run well. The website provides a sample script for calling to volunteer.

Conclusion

Voting is an often overlooked right that is vital for the Democracy of the United States to function properly. As citizens, we have a responsibility to uphold our election systems, and The Franchise Project allows an outlet to do so. It takes less than a minute to sign a petition, and only a few minutes to inform yourself about state laws and how you can take action.

Follow The Franchise Project on Twitter for updates and upcoming opportunities.

Nina Faynshtayn is an activist, organizer, and chocolate ice cream enthusiast. Currently, she’s the Co-Chair of the Connecticut High School Democrats organization. She enjoys spending time writing about a variety of topics, including policy, international affairs, science, and poetry. She’s involved with several non-profits, school activities, piano playing and teaching, and is currently working on her tennis skills.
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