Historically, the term "voter restoration" has been associated with returning voting rights to individuals with felony convictions. Through the Voter Restoration Initiative, however, the Voter Engagement Coalition seeks to extend the term and to broaden the conversation.
Over the next eight weeks, we will acknowledge the histories and legacies of voter suppression within marginalized communities that discourage citizens from participating in the present-day voting process. We will highlight the challenges and resilience of communities across the country who are still not able to vote, even though they have the legal right to do so. Through community storytelling and dialogue, we hope to encourage important conversations that will ultimately raise the voices that our nation has historically silenced.
The Voter Restoration Initiative reflects the intersection of two of Illinois State's core values, civic engagement and diversity and inclusion, by acknowledging the sociohistorical legacy and present-day experiences of power and oppression within the American political voting system.
There are multiple factors at play within the Postal Service that are worrisome for the upcoming general election. The USPS is having mail delays, in part due to years of financial troubles and reforms implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. This is a concern for many voters because, due to COVID-19, there is an expectation that the United States will experience a surge in requests for mail-in ballots.
If you plan to vote by mail, make sure that your voice is heard by returning your ballot as early as possible, and definitely prior to the Nov. 3 deadline.
The largest voting population in the U.S. are the youth. They are also more educated and civically engaged than past generations. Young adults have the numbers and interest in voting, but voter turnout among this group has remained low. Voting needs to be more accessible, so that young voters have the opportunity to be engaged in our democracy.
Native Americans have the lowest voter turnout among all groups. Even though citizenship was finally granted to Native Americans in 1924, there is an ongoing fight to ensure Native American voting rights. This is especially true among those who live in tribal reservations, where they have unique factors that impact the ability to vote. The laws and policies implemented around voting make it substantially difficult for Native Americans to engage in the democratic process.
The Latinx community is fighting for their voices to be heard in our democracy. Actions such as changing poll locations, photo I.D. requirements, and the purging of voter rolls, are having negative impacts on Latinx citizens' ability to vote. However, groups such as Loto Latino are committed to empowering and educating Latinx voters. A simple way this is done is registering as many eligible Latinx voters as possible.