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EP: What Comes Next

November 5, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 4, 2008

CONTACTS:
Deb Greenspan, dgreenspan@gloverparkgroup.com, 202-741-5573
Stacie Miller, smiller@lawyerscommittee.org, 202-662-8317

EP: WHAT COMES NEXT
Today’s Events Exemplify the Need for True Reform

Washington, DC — Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter rights coalition, has fielded over 200,000 calls to its 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline, including over 80,000 calls on Election Day alone. Questions and concerns from voters across the country – from the hotline, website and social networking sites like Twitter – were answered and acted upon by a network of over 10,000 trained volunteers across the country.

"Today, millions of citizens exercised their fundamental right to vote in a truly historic election. And they were aided by a truly historic Election Protection effort - ten thousand trained volunteers who helped address multiple important election issues in a variety of states,” said Jonah Goldman, Director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The stories and the data that we collected create a record for comprehensive election reform. Many of these pressing challenges we uncovered demonstrate our duty to ensure that American voters are granted a system worthy of the resolve, courage and dedication to democracy seen today."

Election Protection urges voters not to forget the lessons of this election cycle, and to begin tomorrow to make this election historic – not just for its outcome, but for what comes next:

IMPROVE VOTER REGISTRATION PROCESS
The most prevalent and alarming challenge to our electoral process today came in the form of voter registration problems. Voters across the country arrived at the polls to find that their registrations had never been processed, that their names had been purged from voter lists, or that they had missed the registration deadlines altogether. Our first priority for improving this flawed system should be to make the registration process fair, accurate and efficient.

COMBATTING DECEPTIVE PRACTICES
Voters in nearly a dozen states today received misinformation about polling locations, times and rules. It’s easier than ever to disseminate deceptive information quickly – and with new mediums – and our election system needs to adapt accordingly to combat these practices and minimize the effects of partisan tricks.

UPGRADE THE ADMINISTRATION PROCESS
Today in Ohio, Missouri, Virginia and numerous other states, eligible voters were forced to cast provisional ballots because of ballots shortages, and were hampered by poorly trained poll workers, and broken voting machines. These problems could have been avoided if the administration of our electoral process provided officials and poll locations with the resources needed to handle the weight of full participation.

EXPANDING THE VOTE
We saw fewer problems in states with early voting. Early voting takes pressure off the system by easing the crush on Election Day, and by providing a margin for error when testing new systems of election administration. Today’s voters should not be constrained to a single day in which to cast a ballot.

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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 trained experts and 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.