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 Pennsylvania
(Washington, DC) April 16, 2008 – With just over one week before the Pennsylvania primary, Election Protection, the nation’s largest non-partisan voter protection coalition, will be available to assist Primary Election Day voters with questions and to ensure that all voters know their rights. A toll-free number (1-866-OUR-VOTE) will be available from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. for voters to call in with any questions or issues that may arise at polling areas.
On April 22, trained volunteers will be staffing the Hotline to provide voters with free assistance if they encounter any problems at the polls or have questions. In addition, volunteers will be monitoring polling sites across Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and coalition partners will be working in the ground in Lancaster, North Hampton, Berks and Lehigh Counties and will be available to intervene in person or place telephone calls to the appropriate election official.
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. Election Protection guides voters through the voting process, helping to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast a meaningful ballot and have their vote counted.
During the 2004 election cycle, Election Protection mobilized 25,000 trained volunteers, including 8,000 legal volunteers, to monitor polling places, educate voters, facilitate a dialogue with local and state officials, providing legal support to poll monitors 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 and March 4, Election Protection received over 5000 calls to the Hotline, recruited and trained nearly 800 legal volunteers who answered over 100 phone lines in seven call centers from coast to coast and assisted voters on the ground at targeted polling places.
The toll-free number 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 April 22, the Lawyers’ Committee will be working with our Election Protection partners to protect voters’ rights throughout Pennsylvania,” 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 partner in Pennsylvania, the Committee of Seventy, and our other partners across the state will recruit, train and deploy over 700 legal volunteers across the state 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 Pennsylvania primary Election Protection will continue to be there as a resource for voters.”
For more information about Election Protection and the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline, or to read our primaries report, please visit: www.866ourvote.org.