Democracy Works is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to helping Americans vote, no matter what. By building easy-to-use tools for voters, uplifting comprehensive data for elections, and providing vital support for election officials, Democracy Works is actively making voting more accessible across the country.

For more about us, head to our website at:

Answering your questions today are:

  • Allie Cashel, Partner Support Associate
  • Nicole Costa, Campus Outreach Lead
  • Jake Ward, Partner Support Associate


Comments: 766 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

AGuyNamedRob100 karma

Every 4 years there’s always a big push on getting out the vote for the presidency but what does the landscape look like post-election? How does or can your org help educate voters at the local level?

DemocracyWorks14 karma

At Democracy Works, we're committed to helping you vote in every election - local, state and national! To stay up-to-date on all things election related, we recommend signing up for TurboVote. When you sign up for TurboVote, one of Democracy Works’s tools, you can opt-in to receive our text and email notifications. These reminders, which are customized to your preferences, share important election information, key dates and deadlines, as well as last minute changes you need to be aware of to vote successfully. We cover federal, state, and local elections. -Allie

Decriment57 karma

What is the government doing about the absentee ballots that have been dumped or sent to the incorrect addresses?

DemocracyWorks14 karma

I personally don't have a ton of insight into the government side of ballot distribution. But as a voter, I know the feeling of being concerned about your ballot not arriving or being sent to the wrong place. If your ballot hasn't arrived yet, I recommend reaching out to your county clerk or local election official to learn about the status of your ballot. Some states actually have ballot tracking services available. Head to How To Vote to learn if your state offers ballot tracking and to learn how to get in touch with your election official. - Allie

Amongades9 karma

Thanks for your answers and work you guys do.

I don't see anything on that website about ballot tracking, though. Is it hidden somewhere? I see you can vote or register to vote... I've already voted, was just curious if I can check the status of my ballot easily.

DemocracyWorks7 karma

Of course :)

If your state does Ballot Tracking, you'll find that information in the Vote by mail section of your How To Vote page.

upvoter22219 karma

How likely do you think it is that the US has a situation similar to 2000 in which the election comes down court decisions after Election Day about counting the votes?

DemocracyWorks4 karma

This is hard to say. The 538 presidential forecast( gives a 4% chance for the election hinging on a recount, which is quite low. If you are worried about this outcome make sure you get out and vote, and help others do the same!

Shaqattaq6918 karma

Why do a ama on voting when registration in a lot of states are closed?

DemocracyWorks7 karma

Getting ready to vote is not just about getting registered! it’s also about figuring out how you want to vote, where you can do it, and what you might need to bring. Our work doesn’t stop when people get registered — we want to make sure everyone has the information they need to vote with confidence! That said, there are 6 states where the registration deadlines haven’t yet passed, and many states have same day or Election Day registration. If you are looking for this information for your state, check out How To Vote -- Jake

Agreeable_crab8914 karma

If you change your mind from voting by mail and you want to go in person, what do you do with your ballot? Can you just go in person?

Also, voting is a right and a privilege. How do you explain this to people who think it’s not important?

DemocracyWorks9 karma

This is a tricky one! The rules are different in every state. You can normally vote in person if you have requested an absentee ballot, but in some states you need to bring your ballot with you in order to cast your vote. If you don’t have your mail ballot, you might have to vote provisionally. You can reach out to your local election official to double check what the rules are in your particular state. Head to Howto.Vote to learn how to get in touch with your local election official. - Allie

Agreeable_crab894 karma

Thank you! I’m in California and I’ll look it up!

DemocracyWorks6 karma

Awesome! Thanks for the question :) - Allie

0xD153A536 karma

Given that democracy has manifested in many different ways over the millennia, what changes to the current incarnation of democracy in America would you suggest to make the system more equitable and fair for Americans?

DemocracyWorks8 karma

Hi! I love this question! I think in this case, knowledge is power. In order for democracy to work, we need to ensure that every eligible American can easily participate in our elections—local, state, and national. The majority of nonvoters report that they miss elections due to process issues and a lack of information. At Democracy Works, we are doing our part to leverage evolving technology to increase voter access nationwide. Better distribution of information, guaranteed access to polling locations, and support for voters navigating the system could all help to make our democracy more equitable. - Allie

tanglespeck4 karma

I had my California ballot mailed to me in Arizona, as I’m currently out of town.

Can I just put the California ballot back into a mailbox here? Or do I need to Fedex it to a friend in California to put in the mail there?

DemocracyWorks7 karma

You can put your ballot into any USPS mailbox! We recommend sending it NOW though, to allow plenty of time for it to arrive. Happy voting :) - Allie

jeebers_574 karma

What is your party affiliation? What ticket do you vote?

DemocracyWorks-1 karma

Democracy Works is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to helping Americans vote, no matter what. Our vision is that every single eligible voter would make their voices heard in our elections, regardless of their personal politics. - Nicole

coryrenton3 karma

Which counties, states would you rank as being the best and worst places to vote?

DemocracyWorks2 karma

Voting is a very local and personal thing, so it wouldn't be fair to rank them because I don't experience them. If you'd like to form your own opinions on voting systems, I'd recommend that you check out The Election Performance Index -Nicole

shad0wth3iffury3 karma

Are people able to vote online? I saw something on my ballot that suggests being able to vote online. If so I'm a little concerned. Is there a reason I should trust the security of their database?

DemocracyWorks6 karma

Some military and overseas voters are eligible to vote online, but most American citizens are not. You can learn more about how to vote in your state at How To Vote and you can find resources for military and oversees voters here: military and overseas voters - Allie

Sainst_2 karma

Do you make it possible for everyone to cast a blank vote? It is essential in a democracy that a dislike towards all major parties is recorded.

DemocracyWorks1 karma

Democracy Works just helps people register and find the information they need to cast a ballot, we do not handle actual ballots in any way! Whether you can cast an entirely blank ballot will depend on the rules in your state. You may need to pick one single race in which you would like to cast a vote to have your ballot be recorded

DoYouLikeOurOwl1 karma

What's the most challenging part of your work? How can an every day Joe help?

DemocracyWorks3 karma

Thank you for asking this! For me, the hardest part is that oftentimes, people forget there are real human beings doing election work behind the scenes. Sometimes people reach out to us to share their frustrations, and I think in part it's because they don't feel like they're being heard. We make every effort to show people that they're supported and that we're doing everything in our power to help people feel confident voting. Usually, people appreciate it.

What you can do is to have real, human conversations with the people in your life about the importance of voting and participating in democracy, even if you don't agree with them. Democracy is built on the premise of people's voices being heard, and I think it's just as important to do that in everyday life. - Nicole

halfhardted0 karma

Do you think mail in voting will become the new normal after this election?

DemocracyWorks5 karma

One trend I expect to see is more states explore offering a mix of voting options, like voting on Election Day, voting early in person, and voting by mail. Because of our federal system, state laws would have to change to facilitate different/increased options for voting methods. That being said, voting by mail was growing in popularity before the pandemic, and this year has likely accelerated those trends. -- Jake

sgrams040 karma

Someone was passing out a pamphlet listing all the “Democrat candidates” but it was very obviously incorrect abd an attempt to fool people into voting for the opposing party. Is that illegal? If so, who should I report this to?

DemocracyWorks9 karma

I can totally see why this would be concerning, and I'm glad you're trying to figure out how to ensure voters are receiving good information about what's on their ballot. The Brennan Center recently shared an article about Digital Disinformation and Vote Suppression if you'd like to read more about the topic We're not legal counsel, so we're not able to give legal advice. However, you can reach out to The Election Protection Hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE), who is a national, non-partisan coalition that works to provide “provides guidance, information and help to any American, regardless of his or her voting choices.” They can help you figure out legal concerns. You can also contact your local election official, and bring this to their attention. You can find that info at -Nicole

nycandpolitics-1 karma

The enormous difficulties people face voting are a stain on our democracy - how do we get it out? A Tide to-go pen?

DemocracyWorks0 karma

This has been a challenging year for all of us, and we feel overwhelmed when we think about the difficulties people are facing around the country.

If democracy is built on blood, sweat, and tears, you'll probably want to use an enzymatic cleaner. Cleaning supplies are harder to come by, but you can always use unseasoned meat tendorizer for that. So as much as we love Tide to-go, we think we're going to need to do more to support voters this year than that :) - Allie & Nicole

evil_timmy-2 karma

Will you be posting an after-election report breaking down where and how successfully voter suppression has happened this election? It seems like this would help set a targeted agenda (for legislation and action) for 2022/2024.

DemocracyWorks5 karma

Early next year, we will publish our annual report, which shares information about the impact of our tools and programs. We serve over 9 million voters, and we believe that this data provides helpful insight into how we can improve our elections infrastructure for future elections. - Allie

cmbyrd-12 karma

Given the current climate, extensive efforts at voter suppression, and a proud tradition of GOP presidents who've lost the popular vote... Do your REALLY think democracy is working?

DemocracyWorks2 karma

At DW, we think of it as, 'Democracy Works when people vote (and participate).' Democracy is a living, breathing thing that requires people to be involved. Low voter turnout and low civic participation create a vacuum, and that's when you start to see challenges appear. Beyond just voting, civic participation is holding elected officials accountable, and either voting them in or out depending on how well they represent you and your community's interests. When people participate, democracy has the space to thrive, and we want to create spaces so that every citizen can participate confidently. -Nicole

wheaties-13 karma

Given our current president's dodge on answering if he will accept the results of the outcome of the election if he loses, are you worried about any challenges to our electoral process should that event come to pass?

DemocracyWorks8 karma

Our democracy depends on everyone accepting the outcomes of elections. Still, we think that the vast majority of Americans, and the vast majority of elected officials, will accept the results and uphold the integrity of the election

MrChunky22-16 karma

I don't mind being crucified for posting what is a genuine misunderstanding of the American voting system, therefore:

If Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump won the electoral college vote, why does voting for a President matter?

I understand local office vacancies and measures and such, but..

Edit: as you can see, I've been crucified juuuuuust enough. Thanks for proving so eloquently the point I was making, in addition to se very good responses. Currently 0 points.

Edit: spoke too soon, we're at -1 between last update and this, and I just edited.

I love hive minds.

DemocracyWorks16 karma

Trump won the electoral college in 2016 because he won the popular vote in enough states to give him a majority of electoral votes overall. He won key swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania by just tens of thousands of votes, which shows how important even just a few votes can be! Still, if you live in a state that is unlikely to swing between the parties, it can be frustrating to vote in the presidential race. There are two things I would say to that: 1) it’s still worthwhile to cast your vote and have it be counted, even if it won’t be the deciding vote! The point of elections is not just to determine winners, but also to help us all better understand where our country is at. 2) as you say, local races are really important! These local races are more likely to have a direct impact on our lives, affecting everything from the taxes we pay and the services we receive to the regulations that control the quality of the air we breathe and food we eat. Plus, since local races are smaller, your vote is more likely to make a difference! -- Jake