Other Group

ElectionMail.org

Website:

www.electionmail.org

Type:

Ballot Issue Reporting

Project Manager:

Monica Crane Childers

ElectionMail.org is a website that collects reports of alleged problems affecting absentee and mail-in ballots during elections. The website also aims to be a resource for state and local election administrators, providing guidance on how to recognize issues with election mail. The website forwards the reports and data it collects to the United States Postal Service. While ElectionMail positions itself as a non-partisan resource, its funding and administrative support come from some of the most influential philanthropic institutions on the political left. [1]

Parent Organization

ElectionMail describes itself as an “ongoing project” of Democracy Works, which funds services that provide information on candidates and works to increase turnout among traditionally Democratic-leaning communities. Democracy Works is a member of the Bridge Alliance, a coalition of activist groups which support programs and policies that would benefit Democratic voters and political campaigns. With an annual budget of over $4 million, Democracy Works receives funding from leading left-of-center grant makers such as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The organization also received support from the Democracy Fund, a private foundation funded by liberal billionaire Pierre Omidyar. The Bipartisan Policy Center, an environmentalist advocacy group which reformed into a left-of-center think tank in 2007, has been another key financial backer of ElectionMail. [2]

Democracy Works supports activists and policymakers who “want to change the voting experience” and urges them to “collaborate with the people on the front lines—election officials.” The organization also claims that election administrators “don’t have the tools they need” and that ElectionMail.org, along with the mail-in ballot tracking service BallotScout, will provide these tools. [3]

Institutional Backers

The Democracy Fund, a private foundation funded by liberal billionaire Pierre Omidyar has endorsed both ElectionMail.org and BallotScout as means for the left-of-center activism and philanthropy sector to get involved in American elections, ostensibly in order to support the Postal Service and ensure the broadest possible implementation of and access to mail-in and absentee ballots. In addition to the full range of options to vote by mail, the Democracy Fund supports the practice of providing ballot drop-off boxes and expanding their availability. [4]

The United States Election Assistance Commission, the government agency that facilitates elections, endorsed ElectionMail during the 2016 election cycle. The commission has also collaborated with leaders of the website’s left-of-center financial backers, including Bipartisan Policy Center senior advisor Tammy Patrick and Monica Crane Childers, then the Democracy Works government services director. [5] Childers is now the vice president of labs at Democracy Works. Her work includes managing both ElectionMail and Ballot Scout. [6]

The Center for Tech and Civic Life, an activist group funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg which received media and public attention during the 2020 election cycle for its efforts to channel funds from left-of-center grant makers to state and local election authorities, endorses ElectionMail. In January 2020, the center released an online seminar aimed at election officials which promoted both ElectionMail and Ballot Scout. The center cited the COVID-19 pandemic in its appeal for election officials to expand mail-in and absentee voting. [7]

The Bipartisan Policy Center, an environmentalist advocacy group which reformed into a left-of-center think tank in 2007, has been another key financial backer of ElectionMail. [8]

References

  1. “About.” ElectionMail.org. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://electionmail.org/about ^
  2. “About.” ElectionMail.org. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://electionmail.org/about ^
  3. “Supporting Election Officials.” Democracy Works. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://www.democracy.works/support-for-election-officials ^
  4. Tammy Patrick. “2017 Lessons Can Improve The Vote-By-Mail Experience In 2018.” Democracy Fund. May 14, 2018. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://democracyfund.org/idea/2017-lessons-can-improve-the-vote-by-mail-experience-in-2018/ ^
  5. “NASED Winter Meeting 2016.” United States Election Assistance Commission. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a665c98017db2b60bc22084/t/5adbe8b1575d1f52aa944004/1524361396117/EAC_NASED_2016.pdf ^
  6. “Making Every Vote Count: A Practical Guide to Risk-Limiting Audits.” William J. Brennan Center for Justice. January 31, 2019. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/events/V1%20RLA%20Program%20%28final%29.pdf ^
  7. [1] “Watch Now: Free Vote at Home Webinars for Election Officials.” Center for Tech and Civic Life. January 6, 2020. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://www.techandciviclife.org/vote-at-home/ ^
  8. “About.” ElectionMail.org. Accessed April 11, 2022. https://electionmail.org/about ^
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