Stacie B. Miller
Director of Communications
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
(202) 445-6101 (cell)
Election Protection to Provide Primary Election Day
Hotline to Assist Voters in North Carolina and Indiana
Washington, DC, May 1, 2008 – With less than a week before the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, together with a diverse group of partners, will help voters to cast meaningful ballots through a comprehensive voter protection program. Volunteers will be available to assist Primary Election Day voters with questions and to ensure that all voters know their rights. Voters in both states can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE toll-free from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST with any questions or issues that may arise at polling areas.
On May 6, trained volunteers will staff the Hotline to provide voters with free assistance if they encounter any problems at the polls or have questions. In addition, volunteers will be stationed at election officials’ offices in targeted area across North Carolina and Indiana. Field volunteers will be available to intervene in person or place telephone calls to the appropriate election official.
“Election Protection is needed now more than ever, said John Borkowski,Esquire, a partner at law firm Hogan & Hartson who works in D.C. and Indiana offices, and Lawyers’ Committee board member. “The recent Supreme Court ruling upholding Indiana’s voter identification requirement underscores the need for voters to be prepared and to know their rights. Election Protection will continue to guide voters through the voting process, helping to ensure that that all eligible voters have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”
In 2000, millions of Americans, primarily those in minority communities, were denied their right to vote. The Election Protection coalition was formed in response to these issues.
During the 2004 election cycle, Election Protection mobilized 25,000 trained volunteers, including 7,000 legal volunteers, to monitor polling places, educate voters, facilitate a dialogue with local and state officials, solve problems in real time and answer the 1-866-OUR-VOTE voter services hotline. The Hotline received over 200,000 calls from voters in all 50 states. During the primaries this year on February 5, February 12, March 4 and April 22, Election Protection received over 8,000 calls to the Hotline, recruited and trained nearly 2,200 volunteers who answered over 125 phone lines in eight call centers from coast to coast and assisted voters on the ground at targeted polling places.
The toll-free number, administered by the Lawyers’ Committee is available to any voters who need information, assistance or need guidance in understanding their rights. It is open to the entire voting public, but targets historically disenfranchised communities, including Hispanic, African American and low-income communities.
“On May 6, the Lawyers’ Committee will be working with our Election Protection partners to protect voters’ rights throughout Indiana and North Carolina,” said Jonah Goldman, director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections in the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Voting Rights Project.
“By primary day, the Lawyers’ Committee, our primary May 6 partners, Democracy North Carolina, the Brennan Center for Justice and NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and other partners across both states will recruit, train and deploy legal volunteers to help voters at the polls, in the courts and through the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline. As Election Protection’s interim report on previous primaries across the country this election year suggests, the infrastructure that supports our election system often breaks down preventing countless eligible voters from accessing their right to vote. During the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, Election Protection will continue to be there as a resource for voters,” continued Goldman.
For more information about Election Protection and the 1-866-OUR-VOTE and Hotline, or to read the Lawyers’ Committee’s report, please visit www.866ourvote.org.