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An Election Alert: Virginia and Pennsylvania

November 4, 2008

 For Immediate Release:  November 4th, 2008

Contact: Deb Greenspan, dgreenspan@gloverparkgroup.com, 202-741-5573

                  Matt Steinfeld, msteinfeld@gloverparkgroup.com

                  Stacie Miller, smiller@lawyerscommittee.org, 202-445-6101

 

ELECTION ALERT: VIRGINIA AND PENNSYLVANIA VOTERS FACE SERIOUS THREATS TO THEIR VOTING RIGHTS AT THE POLLS

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

November 4, 2008 - Voters are reporting major obstacles to casting their ballot in polling locations across Virginia and Pennsylvania, which could disenfranchise thousands of [state] voters. Long lines, broken voting machines, ballot shortages and misused absentee ballots are just some of the problems that threaten to rob thousands of eligible voters of their right to vote.

In Virginia:

  • Dozens of polling places are experiencing varying degrees of machine malfunction. Some polling places are either completely closed or have been closed for hours.
  • Thousands of voters may have been turned away illegally by polling workers.
  • Voters have illegally been issued with provisional ballets where machines have been broken.
  • Students at Virginia Tech, previously the victims of misinformation, have seen their polling place suddenly and unexpectedly moved six miles to a location with little parking.

In Pennsylvania:

  • Voting machine malfunctions are widespread and at least a dozen locations, mainly focused on Pittsburg and Philadelphia.
  • We have received reports of campaign materials are being illegally distributed at polling locations in Pittsburg.
  • Voters across the state are reporting that they never received their absentee ballots, which is creating additional chaos at the polls.

Several other states like Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Michigan are reporting long lines due to problems with registration lists and poll locations.

 

Election Protection legal volunteers are working to resolve these issues quickly to ensure that no one leaves their polling location without effectively casting a ballot. Voting rights experts urge voters to stay patient and cooperative in the meantime and to report all instances of voter intimidation or disenfranchisement to Election Protection's 866-OUR-VOTE hotline immediately.

All voters have the right to vote without intimidation or problems. There is no excuse for these sorts of problems, which not only threaten individual voters' rights, but also the integrity of our election. 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 voters have questions about their 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 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.