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NBC News and Election Protection Announce Partnership

October 21, 2008

For Immediate Release: October 21, 2008

CONTACTS:
Deb Greenspan, dgreenspan@gloverparkgroup.com, 202-741-5573
Nell McGarity, nmcgarity@gloverparkgroup.com, 202-292-6973
Jeremy Gaines, Jeremy.gaines@msnbc.com, 212-664-5133

NBC NEWS AND ELECTION PROTECTION ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP

NBC News and 1-866-OUR-VOTE Join Forces to Provide Voters with Live, Confidential Help and to Report Registration and Voting Problems

WASHINGTON—With less than 14 days before Election Day, NBC News and Election Protection will be joining forces to help voters ensure that their vote will count. The news leader and the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition will work together to promote the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline and www.866ourvote.org website so that voters can receive live assistance if they encounter problems, and access the information before they head to the polls now through Election Day.

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 across the country, Election Protection helps all American voters gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting, offering live assistance.

The partnership with NBC is the latest in a series of innovative efforts by Election Protection to use new media to broaden its accessibility to voters. This cycle, Election Protection will be using tools such as livechat on its website, Facebook and Twitter, allowing the coalition to utilize social networking sites to increase its reach among youth and internet activists.

"Our partnership with Election Protection will play a major role in NBC News' ‘Making Your Vote Count’ coverage, said Phil Alongi, Executive Producer of NBC News' Election Coverage. "Not only will we be able to direct voters who are experiencing problems with a hotline to call, we will also have our team of reporters and producers follow-up on the information Election Protection is gathering."

“On Election Day, election officials will be facing record turnout with limited resources, and some voters will encounter problems as a result,” said Jonah Goldman, director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and one of the leaders of the Election Protection. “Working with NBC, MSNBC and MSNBC.com will allow us to help more voters who will need assistance.”

Goldman along with Barbara Arnwine and John Strasburger will offer regular updates on the “state of voting”, share their expert opinions on the voting issues dominating news headlines, and provide insight and advice for how voters and lawmakers can minimize the barriers voters face when registering and casting a ballot.

Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law since 1989, is internationally renowned for contributions on critical justice issues including the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Strasburger is the managing partner of Weil Gotshal’s Houston office and Co-Chair of the firm's Global Pro Bono Committee, which includes significant work on behalf of voters’ rights. He also serves of the board of the Lawyers’ Committee.

Election Protection has more than 100 partners at the national, state and local level and is providing live voter protection services now through Election Day across all 50 states. On November 4, Election Protection will mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers, including 10,000 legal volunteers to monitor polling places, educate voters, facilitate a dialogue with local and state officials, provide legal support to poll monitors, and answer the 1-866-OUR-VOTE voter services hotline – a monumental undertaking designed to ensure smooth voting in November.

The centerpieces of those efforts are the free and nonpartisan hotlines (1-866-OUR VOTE for English speakers and 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA for Spanish speakers) which connect voters with problems to legal experts that can offer impartial and confidential advice. Voters looking for information can visit 866ourvote.org or veyvota.org. Fully trained volunteers started answering voters’ calls and are helping resolve voting issues nationwide, now and through Election Day.

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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.