Andrea Hailey

Being a champion for democracy is in my blood. As a biracial woman raised by two civil rights attorneys who fought the KKK (and won!), I was raised learning about how to fight for justice and equality.

And it’s interesting because voter suppression cut right down the line of our family. 

For me, I had long lines. But my brother, who lives out in a more rural, more white area of Indiana, he was in and out of his polling location in 15 minutes while I had to endure hours-long lines. 

Like most Americans, I work a lot, so going in person means that I had to take time off during the day. 

I’m head of, so I’d taken the time to know where my polling location is, which is just down the street from my house in Indianapolis, and I’d made my plan to cast my ballot on the first day of early voting. But things did not work according to plan because there was a seven-hour line at the polling location. 

I sat in that seven-hour line for as many hours as I could, but eventually I had to leave the line, go back to work, and try again the next day. But when I went back, the same thing happened again. It took me three days of going back to try to find a time when the line was less than seven hours long. 

The reason that happened was because during early voting in Indianapolis, they started off by only opening five polling locations for a city that has over a million people. They know who lives in what neighborhoods and how many people might come to vote at my location. So, that’s more than just a basic planning issue. There’s a decision being made somewhere to not have additional polling locations open.

My parents are over 65, so they ordered their absentee ballots at the same time. My mom, who is white had hers arrive without any problem or any issue, and she turned it right back around and got it in. 

Yet for my dad, who is Black, his never arrived. So, he called me, his daughter, who is the head of for help. I said, “Okay, let me call some elections attorneys and see what we need to do.” And he’s an attorney himself. 

My parents are both Civil Rights attorneys. And between the three of us, we had a hard time figuring out, what do you need to do when your absentee ballot doesn’t arrive? Which forms do you need to fill out and where do you need to take them? 

We contacted an elections attorney in Indianapolis, who also looked at it. Eventually, we pulled together all the paperwork we needed and took it to what we call the City-County Building. 

And when my dad turned in his forms, they said, “Oh, you must have been on the list that was lost.” And, you know, this is what we’re dealing with. 

The fact that my dad and I both had issues and my mom, and my brother were in and out, no problem. That means that not only are voters having different experiences between every state in the United States, but we’re also having different experiences, depending on who you are, within the same state as well. 

Which is why it surprised no one when I founded the Civic Engagement Fund, an incubator for grassroots nonprofits focused on voter empowerment. Or when I advised and supported numerous presidential and congressional candidates, ballot initiatives, and historic landmarks. 

Today, I put my civic engagement expertise and passion for democracy to work as the CEO of, the largest nonpartisan digital voter engagement organization in the nation. 

Under my guidance, helped over 3.7 million people register to vote and 3.3 million request mail-in ballots during the 2020 General Election and Georgia runoffs. Our nationwide get-out-the-vote operation resulted in over half a billion voter contacts across the United States.

And now, between election cycles, we are still fighting against wet signature laws, gerrymandered maps, protecting voter rights, and so much more. 

This is a constant battle, and I am proud to be on the front lines with

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