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A Michigan Alert: Long Line Plagues Polling on East Side of Detroit

November 4, 2008

For Immediate Release: November 4th, 2008

Contact: Ben Becker, (202) 799-4882, bbecker@gloverparkgroup.com

MICHIGAN ALERT: LONG LINE PLAGUES POLLING ON EAST SIDE OF DETROIT
VOTERS REPORT LINE IS 1,000 PEOPLE LONG AND WAIT IS FIVE HOURS AT BETH EDEN BAPTIST

Voters can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) to report issues at the polls

November 4, 2008 – Voters on Detroit’s east side are waiting 5 hours to vote in a line that’s 1,000-people long at Beth Eden Baptist, as a result of an understaffed polling operation, as of 11:45 a.m. EST. The Wayne County polling site is trying to accommodate voters from three precincts and ground reports indicate that while there are enough polling machines to handle the volume, there aren’t enough polling staff to manage the crowd flow. The county clerk reports that there are no additional workers available to help resolve the congestion and an Election Protection law firm on the ground is further investigating the situation.

Election Protection is urging voters to be patient in voting lines and not to leave the precinct until their vote has been cast. We have waited over a year to cast ballots in this historic election season, let’s resolve to wait a little longer. Voters who are lined up when the polls close at 8 p.m. have the right to vote a regular ballot. If anyone encounters problems or feel that they are being intimidated at the polls, they should contact Election Protection’s 866-OUR-VOTE hotline immediately. Legal volunteers are working to resolve these issues quickly to ensure that no one leaves their polling location without effectively casting a ballot.

Darlene, a voter in Upper Marlboro, Maryland called the Election Protection hotline during the primaries to report receiving inaccurate information from local elections officials and a chaotic scene at her polling location. She said, “My own husband was told to vote at another precinct, although we have lived in and voted in the same community for years. I could not stand by and watch my neighbors become discouraged and leave without voting because of incompetent poll workers.”

Election Protection is closely monitoring voter requests for assistance and reports of problems at the polls through its hotline (866-OUR-VOTE), web site (www.866OurVote.org) and tens of thousands of volunteers across the country. All voters have the right to an efficient, fair and accurate election process. Problems like hours-long lines present a threat to that right and to the integrity of the entire system. The only way to prevent such failures in the future will be to institute comprehensive election reform to improve the registration process, voting systems, and administration and to prevent disenfranchisement of all voters.

If you or anyone you know has questions about your voting rights, the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline has thousands of trained Election Protection volunteers and legal experts available to provide direct assistance to voters in Michigan and across the country. Experts can help voters understand their rights, verify their registration status, find their polling place, and resolve Election Day issues.

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Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through its 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline (1-866-687-8683) and dedicated team of legal experts and trained volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting, offering live assistance. The coalition has more than 100 partners at the national, state and local level, and is providing live voter protection services now through Election Day for all 50 states.

For more information about Election Protection and the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline, please visit: www.866ourvote.org.