We need a healthy democracy to fight for a healthy environment. A more just and equitable democracy that works for everyone is necessary to achieve meaningful progress on the climate crisis and environmental injustices — and our window to act is rapidly closing.
It is not a coincidence that the communities most affected by climate change, pollution and environmental injustice are the same communities that have historically been denied access to the ballot box. In 2021 alone, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting, and more than 440 bills were introduced in 49 states. These restrictions disproportionately target Black voters and other voters of color, the same voters who voted in record numbers in key battleground states in 2020.
Democracy for All (DFA), a program of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, works to improve access to and trust in our electoral process, so that these communities can claim their rightful place in our democracy.
We specifically work to connect communities of color, immigrant communities, low-wealth communities, rural communities, voters with disabilities, young voters, and voters who speak or read a language other than English to our country’s civic process. The power to fight back against corporate polluters and hold elected officials accountable grows when every voice in every community is represented in our democracy.
Democracy for All works to build power in communities by:
[+] Advocating for structural democracy reform.
We amplify community power to hold the government accountable to its constitutional promise of equal representation.
While the United States has not always guaranteed all citizens the right to vote, it has become a venerated right protected in our Constitution. However, to this day, equal access to voting remains elusive and is often systematically obstructed, especially for voters of color, young and elderly voters, and voters with disabilities. Policies and practices such as disinformation, voter ID laws, complex mail-in ballot requirements, limiting early voting options and changing/closing polling locations often keep these communities from exercising their right to vote. Democracy For All seeks to educate the public about voter suppression efforts and advocates for policies that will make our democratic systems more equitable and fair, including automatic and same day voter registration, increased access to early voting, redistricting reform, and voting rights expansion and restoration.
[+] Registering and turning people out to vote.
We mobilize communities whose voting power has been historically excluded and underrepresented in the electorate due to voter suppression tactics targeting voter registration and turnout.
Democracy For All’s nonpartisan voter registration and voter turnout programs attempt to close the voting gap faced by voters of color by breaking down barriers to participation and helping people in every community exercise their fundamental right to vote. In addition, we engage young people who will be forced to live with the consequences of our broken system but consistently engage civically at lower levels than older demographics. We register voters in their communities, run nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts, and help recruit poll workers.
[+] Engaging in transformational community organizing.
We connect voters with long-term organizing programs and community-driven campaigns that move people to take collective action.
Democracy For All leverages our massive voter turnout efforts into ongoing, year-round civic engagement. With a network of 30+ state affiliates and LCVEF’s powerful, long-term community organizing programs, Democracy For All is unique in its ability to link voter mobilization with grassroots community engagement. Across the country, we collaborate with communities to transform their power into an undeniable force for a more inclusive democracy that is responsive to people and their will to protect the planet.
Explore more about our work across the country:
[+] Our Impact
In 2021, the Democracy for All program fought to build power in communities for voters to fight against increasingly dangerous efforts to chip away at the foundation of our democracy. Our successes — in partnership with affiliates in the Conservation Voter Movement — include:
- Collecting more than 30,000 voter registration forms online and via mail as part of our nonpartisan voter engagement programs.
- Building the capacity of our 30+ state affiliates with staff expansion and training focused on developing strong relationships with local election officials and engaging and recruiting volunteers.
- Helping increase civic participation among low voting propensity populations — including in Black, Indigenous, Latino, immigrant, and other communities of color — through more than 500,000 nonpartisan get-out-the-vote outreach attempts.
- Supporting state grassroots movements for democracy by working more closely with our affiliates on state-specific voting rights, ballot access issues and voter registration needs.
Our wins in particular states include:
- Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, building voter mobilization and education programs specifically aimed at increasing civic participation of communities of color
- California, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, advancing equitable and representative redistricting maps
- Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, countering legislative voter suppression inspired by the “Big Lie”
- Maine, implementing a modern automatic voter registration system through work with the Secretary of State
- Nevada, helping secure permanent vote-by-mail elections through a coordinated legislative advocacy campaign
To learn more about these and additional successes that we’re building on in 2022 and beyond, read our 2021 Impact Report and the LCVEF Brochure.
[+] 2020 Election Report
In 2020, our nation struggled to reckon with the interconnected crises of racial injustice, a global pandemic, economic injustice, and the growing threats of the climate crisis. Unfortunately, early on in the pandemic, we witnessed many examples of people forced to choose to protect the health and safety of themselves and their families over exercising their right to vote.
Nonetheless, voter turnout was at its highest rate in 120 years, with voters across the country casting a record-breaking number of early and mail-in ballots. Amid a pandemic, this historic voter turnout did not happen of its own accord — it took a strongly coordinated effort to overcome obstacles and restrictions across our nation.
Democracy For All was a significant force in this effort as one of the largest and most dynamic civic engagement programs in the nation and the largest program within the environmental movement. LCVEF, operating in partnership with our state affiliates in the Conservation Voter Movement (CVM), gives Democracy For All substantial capacity and geographic reach. In a historic election cycle, we:
- Reached more than 9 million women, young people, and people of color with voter registration applications
- Sent 2 million nonpartisan turnout text messages
- Helped nearly 238,500 people register to vote
Read more about our approach and achievements in the 2020 Democracy in Action report.
[+] Where We Work
Democracy For All works across the country with our state affiliates in the Conservation Voter Movement to ensure that everyone can participate fully in our democracy. LCVEF has worked closely with our independent state partners since 1996 to build strong and effective public education and advocacy programs for environmental protection and land conservation at the local, state, and national levels. See our full list of state affiliates and their websites here.
In 2022, we are:
- running a multi-state site-based voter registration program in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. As the largest non-partisan, site-based voter registration program in the country this year, this program is registering eligible voters historically excluded from voter registration efforts, including communities of color in urban and rural communities. Read more about our voter registration program here.
- promoting the signature collection, promotion and mobilization of voters for two critical voting rights ballot initiatives in the states of Arizona and Michigan. DFA is strategically positioned at the center of both of these initiatives with our state partners, Chispa AZ and Michigan League of Conservation Voters respectively, serving as steering committee members.
- investing in building positive relationships with local election administrators and communities in target states to ensure that voting is fair, safe, and secure for everyone and that every vote is counted. Key states like Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Washington are collaborating with city and county clerks to recruit poll workers, educate the public on voting procedures and help advocate for more election administration funding.
[+] Voter Resources
It takes just a few minutes to make a plan to vote! Use our online tools below to register to vote, confirm your current registration, apply to vote by mail, or find your local election office.