EVERYONE'S IN: Elections

How Should We Encourage and Safeguard Voting?

Scroll down for the Everyone's In Election forum materials.

Introduced in 2024 from the National Issues Forums Institute, Everyone’s In brings people together to talk about tough issues in courteous, thoughtful ways. NIFI’s updated forum format features materials and procedures specifically designed for online conversation and intended to foster respectful exchanges across political divides. It will be offered to nonpartisan institutions and other convening organizations at no charge.

EI forums build on NIFI’s decades of experience helping people grapple with choices on controversial issues. But the new format also employs approaches that make conversations more inclusive and welcoming for people across the political spectrum. The EI methodology has been tested successfully in pilot forums including both Republicans and Democrats and Trump and Biden voters.

Many Americans are concerned about the US election system although we don’t always agree on the main problem or how best to fix it. Is it too hard to vote? Is the system too easy to manipulate? Do we have rules that make voting fair and accessible to all? Are we doing enough to ensure accuracy and credibility?

This issue advisory presents three options for moving forward, each reflecting a different view of the problem and each suggesting a different set of ideas about what should be done. Most people will find something to agree with in all three approaches, but each also has trade-offs, risks, or drawbacks that need to be taken into account and worked through.

In thinking about different approaches, we will consider these questions:

  • Would sending mail-in ballots to all voters make voting more accessible for everyone, or could it lead to fraud and make it harder for elections officials to make sure no one tampers with the vote?
  • Do ID requirements for voting, in order to help maintain the system’s integrity, merely discourage voters by placing hurdles in their way?
  • Would Americans see the voting system as more legitimate if the Electoral College were eliminated in favor of a national popular vote?
  • Could some of the changes proposed here have unintended consequences? Could they fix some problems but cause new ones we haven’t anticipated?

These are not the only possible options, nor the only questions. They are starting points for weighing alternatives and reaching a sound judgment.