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A new program seeks to increase the sense of democratic inclusion via vote-sharing

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a polling station in San Diego, California.
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a polling station in San Diego, California.
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

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The right to vote is reserved for adults who are U.S. citizens or meet their state’s residency requirements, but even still, only seven out of 10 eligible voters are registered to vote.

A new Los Angeles-based project, Vote Allies, is working to increasing voter participation by  motivating eligible voters who typically wouldn’t cast a vote to “share” their vote with someone who is not eligible. By symbolically sharing a vote with a partner, Brett Shears, founder of Vote Allies, wants all members of society to feel like their voice matters. The program currently has 60 registered participants, 14 of whom include ex-felons and undocumented people.

Others, like Ira Mehlman, media director at The Federation for American Immigration Reform, are skeptical that the program will make much of a difference in the way voters will cast their votes, “People sharing their votes probably would have voted that way anyway.”

What do you think? Would you be willing to share your vote with someone who is eager, but ineligible? How might this program influence current and future elections?

Watch our video about the project

Read more about the project on KPCC here. 


Brett Shears, founder, Vote Allies and Independent Election Administrator for the Neighborhood Councils, Region 6, which includes Downtown Los Angeles, Pico Union, Olympic Park, MacArthur Park, Wilshire Center-Koretown, Historic Culture and Westlake North and South

Lonella “Joy” Enix, Chair of the Southwest Los Angeles Neighborhood Development Council and an eligible voter participating in Vote Allies

Ira Mehlman, Media director, The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)