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Election Protection to Provide Crucial Assistance to Voters During the Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio Primary Elections

March 15, 2016

Election Protection to Provide Crucial Assistance to Voters During the
Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio Primary Elections

Toll-Free Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE) Available Now; Live Assistance on Primary Election Day

Washington, D.C., March 15, 2016Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, is providing live assistance for voters in key primary states today. Election Protection volunteers are available to assist voters with issues, problems, or questions that arise in the voting process.  Voters may call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) toll-free with any questions or issues that may arise through 8 p.m. EST today, Primary Election Day. Spanish-speaking voters may seek bilingual assistance through the 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) hotline, also through 8 p.m. EST.

“Around the country, we are witnessing racially heated and charged rhetoric, and other polarizing activity that underscore the need for vigilance to ensure that all eligible voters are able to freely cast their ballots,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  “We are committed to lifting the barriers and addressing any obstacles to ensure that all voters are able to freely participate in our democracy.  The 866-OUR-VOTE hotline helps to ensure access to the ballot box for all.”

Key developments in primary states with elections scheduled for March 15, 2016 are noted below:

17 Year-Olds Eligible to Vote in Ohio Presidential Primary

On Friday, a Franklin County, Ohio Common Pleas judge ruled in favor of allowing ballots casts by lawfully registered 17-year-old voters. As a result, the court ordered Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to direct the county boards of elections across the state to accept the presidential primary votes of 17-year-old voters who will be 18 on or before the general election.  The court’s order resulted in a reversal of the Secretary of State’s previous mandate.

ID Requirements in North Carolina

North Carolina’s restrictive voter ID law is required during the March 15 primary. To vote a regular ballot in North Carolina voters must bring one of the following forms of identification to vote a regular ballot:

  • NC driver’s license or learner’s permit (may be expired up to 4 years);
  • NC non-drivers ID card (may be expired up to 4 years);
  • U.S. passport (must be current);
  • U.S. military ID or Veterans ID Card (does not need an expiration date);
  • Member card from a federally or NC recognized tribe (ID is current for 8 years after the issuance date); or
  • Out-of-state driver’s license but only for 90 days after the voter registers in North Carolina

Please note: If one of these IDs is current when you turn 70, you may keep using it for voting for life. Voters are exempt from the voter ID law if they:

  • Swear they have a religious objection to being photographed; or
  • Use curbside voting because of their age or physical disability.

Instead of a photo, these exempt voters may show a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government document with name and current address.

If a voter does not have the proper identification, he or she will be required to vote a provisional ballot and the ballot “shall” count if the voter:

  • Fills out a form to provide a “reasonable impediment” for why he or she does not have an acceptable ID; and
  • Writes in his or her birth date and last 4 digits of his or her Social Security number; or shows a registration card, current utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, or any government document with his or her name and address.

For more details about the North Carolina voter ID law, exemptions and exceptions visit: http://voterid.nc.gov/exceptions.html.

“Election Protection stands ready to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to exercise the fundamental right to vote,” said Chris Melody Fields, Lawyers’ Committee’s manager of legal mobilization.  “Our goal is to ensure that all voters know that there is a resource they can turn to if they have any questions or need assistance when voting.”

Election Protection’s toll-free voter helplines, 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for English and 888-VE-VOTA (888-839-8682) for English and Spanish, are available to any voter who needs information, assistance or guidance in understanding their rights.  For more information about Election Protection and the 866-OUR-VOTE Hotline, please visit: www.866OurVote.org.

Media Note:  Voting rights and Election Protection spokespersons are available for media interviews to offer Election Day observations.  Please contact Stacie Burgess to coordinate, sburgess@lawyerscommittee.org, 202-662-8317.

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About Election Protection
Election Protection is the nation's largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through its suite of hotlines, including the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline (866-687-8683) administered by the Lawyers’ Committee, 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) administered by NALEO Educational Fund, 888-API-VOTE (888-273-8683) administered by APIAVote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC and dedicated team of trained legal and grassroots volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting. The coalition has more than 100 partners - including Advancement Project, Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, League of Women Voters of the United States, NAACP, National Bar Association, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, State Voices, Rock the Vote and Verified Voting Foundation, - at the national, state and local levels and provides voter protection services nationwide. For more information about Election Protection, the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline, please visit:
www.866ourvote.org.