Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of a healthy, inclusive democracy.
To build a governing body that truly represents the people it is accountable to, voting must be easy and accessible to all eligible voters, allowing for and encouraging full participation in our most central civic duty.
This means voters can cast their ballot without fear of intimidation or the risk of their vote being discarded. It means nonpartisan administrators are in place to ensure votes are counted accurately and without partisan bias. And it means that once voters have decided, there is a peaceful and effective transfer of power.
At Schusterman Family Philanthropies, we invest in voting rights both to strengthen our democracy and to expand access and inclusion in support of our racial, gender and economic equity goals. We believe that the ability to change laws and policies depends on having fair rules and elections that ensure our government representatives and institutions are responsive to the diverse needs and interests of the people they serve.
Quote from Cianti Stewart-Reid
We must join together at the local, state and federal level to protect the voice and vote of every eligible American. History has already made clear that in moments like this, it is up to us to carry the fight forward.
The last few years have exposed increasing threats to our democratic institutions and systems. Anti-democratic leaders are systematically working to sabotage voting rights across states, target nonpartisan election administrators and undermine the integrity of our election processes. These actions are meant to diminish the power and agency of historically disenfranchised communities and influence election outcomes.
To address these obstacles, we must ensure that all eligible voters—no matter where they come from, their personal background or their political party—have the freedom to exercise their right to vote easily and safely. Our work focuses on protecting and expanding voting rights, increasing the civic participation of historically disenfranchised communities, mitigating voter suppression and preventing election subversion.
We do so through investing in local and national organizations, advocates and experts who are fighting for free and fair elections, building trust in civic and political institutions, and organizing their communities. We also support efforts to secure long-overdue structural reforms to make our democracy more representative—from drawing fair congressional maps, to finally granting Washington, D.C., statehood, to bringing down other barriers to voting access.
Of eligible voters cast a ballot in 2020. For the U.S., this was the highest voter turnout in 120 years, but turnout was still less than peer nations. (Source)
Anti-voter policies introduced to state legislatures in 2021 in response to record-breaking voter turnout in 2020. (Source)
Election administration jurisdictions in the U.S. Election jurisdictions are the backbone of running fair, secure elections. (Source)
We invest in three priority areas complemented by efforts to deepen grassroots organizing and pro-democracy infrastructure nationally and at the state level.
Advancing election reform and expanding civic participation
We support organizations and initiatives reforming election rules, systems and processes to improve reliable voting access and increase voter participation for all. This includes a targeted focus on people who have been historically marginalized, including young people, seniors and veterans, and voters of color.
Achieving fair and safe elections
We work to advance voter protection efforts, including fair election administration, recruitment and training of poll workers, and combatting voter suppression tactics at the polls and voting subversion in counting results.
Building faith in democratic institutions
We invest in opportunities for eligible voters to recognize their stake and agency in political participation and programs that build faith in democratic institutions serving the needs of all people.
We partner with organizations and initiatives working year-round to protect voting rights and strengthen our democratic institutions. Meet some of our grantees.
Protecting and Expanding Voting Rights
Fair Fight Action promotes fair elections around the country, encourages voter participation and promotes election education.
Promoting Fair Election Administration
All Voting is Local works to dismantle barriers to voting and supports fair election administration so that every voter can cast a ballot that counts.
Fighting Efforts to Undermine our Political System
Protect Democracy is dedicated to preventing authoritarian threats to U.S. democracy and to fighting efforts at home and abroad that threaten our right to fair, free and fully informed self-government.