Renewing Democracy: Solutions for Voting Access

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81 people have downloaded this ebook. Of those, 12 have contributed $292 so far. Our goal is $1,000.

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When Next City first proposed this ebook at the start of 2020, the common thread was to elevate stories from around the country in which often overlooked segments of the population found new ways to gain a voice in the democratic process.

And then 2020 happened. Not since the Freedom Summer of 1964 has the ability to cast a vote felt so fragile and imperiled. Our lives have been upended by an intractable pandemic and the bumbling federal attempts to address it; widespread uprisings and continued police violence against unarmed Black, Latino and Indigenous people have made plain the racist underpinnings at the heart of the “American Experiment;” and a concerted effort to hobble the U.S. Postal Service has the presumed deliberate effect of discouraging millions from voting by mail.

Given this fraught backdrop, the stories in this ebook offer a cautious hope that our democracy is determinedly sowing the seeds of its own renewal. 

  • James Anderson lays out the compelling arguments for lowering the voting age to 16, city by city.

  • Vote16USA’s Brandon Klugman lobbies for better civics education and participatory budgeting as critical engagement tools for citizens of all ages. 

  • James Russell checks in on a 1980s era Texas law requiring high school principals to register eligible student voters. 

  • Vicky Camarillo wrote for the Corpus Christi Caller Times about registering high school seniors to vote. 

  • Lee Davidson wrote for The Salt Lake Tribune about Utah’s long and successful track record of voting by mail. 

  • Alexa Ura reported for the Texas Tribune on Korean-speaking bilingual poll workers in and around Houston. 

Our deepest thanks to all Next City authors, whose solutions reporting make us hopeful for the future of democracy. This ebook, and indeed our entire Renewing Democracy initiative, was made possible through the support of the Solutions Journalism Network.  

Finally, and always, a special thank you to our members, who support Next City through your donations. As a nonprofit newsroom, we depend on reader contributions to fund not only our journalism, but our ebooks, special issues, events and webinar programming. When we can report on what works in one city, other cities inevitably follow. To tell these stories, we need your support. These stories inspire, and at this moment everyone could use some inspiration. In a world where your phone pings regularly with crisis alerts, we must continue to amplify this message: change is possible, and it’s already happening.

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