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Use Twitter to Protect the Vote

October 24, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 24, 2008

CONTACTS: Deb Greenspan, dgreenspan@gloverparkgroup.com, 202-741-5573

Use Twitter to Protect the Vote
Election Protection, techPresident, Rock the Vote, and Others Announce New Voter Protection Resource

WASHINGTON – With less than 15 days until Election Day, the non-partisan Election Protection coalition is enhancing its outreach efforts through a partnership with the Twitter Vote Report project, Rock the Vote, and other coalition partners. With more than 125 million voters projected for this year, issues at the polls are inevitable. Citizens can help Election Protection as they work with election officials to find ways to fix any problems, on the spot, at the polls, and in doing so ensure that millions of Americans have their votes counted.

Twitter's text-messaging and web capabilities and its vast network of active users allow all voters to become election monitors. Users will send "tweets" indicating problem areas, which will make it possible for Election Protection to identify issues in real time and immediately deploy legal volunteers to polling locations where trouble is brewing when necessary.

"The Election Protection coalition is constantly exploring new ways to engage all Americans in the effort to make sure every vote is counted, and we have a special focus on connecting with the youth who represent a large block of first time voters," said Jonah Goldman, director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "This new initiative with Twitter Vote Report gives us the opportunity to penetrate communications streams that youth and others use in their everyday lives to communicate with friends and stay informed on the news of the day. We are eager to observe the myriad ways in which voters are empowered through the ability to provide real time updates as they vote."

Heather Smith, Executive Director of Rock the Vote said, “We are thrilled to partner with Election Protection and techPresident to give young people the opportunity to share election related questions and problems through Twitter. This program creates a new way to ensure that every young voter will be able to cast a ballot this year.”

Election Protection is partnering with Twitter Vote Report, an effort launched on Personal Democracy Forum's techPresident and energized by a group of volunteer technologists, to encourage citizens to broadcast text messages to Twitter.com that can be then be aggregated and mapped so voting problems around the country can be “seen” in real-time. These reports can then be relayed to the experts at the Election Protection Coalition who will, in turn, relay information to their teams on the ground.

"The goal of Twitter Vote Report is to expand the ways in which Americans participate in the electoral process this Election Day," said Nancy Scola of techPresident.

Allison Fine, of Personal Democracy Forum and a Senior Fellow at Demos, added, "On November 4, citizens will be able to "tweet" their vote using the identifying tag of #votereport to Twitter Vote Report. Our partnership with Election Protection and Rock the Vote will greatly expand the role and ability of citizens to protect the election for themselves and their neighbors."

From now until November 4, users can access the Election Protection Twitter account at http://twitter.com/866ourvote and tweet with questions and voting problem reports. On Election Day, voters will be able share their experiences and report problems using the #EP + State Abbreviation (i.e. #EPVA for Virginia) and #votereport tags. Election Protection state teams will monitor and confirm tweet-reports, then work to resolve any issues.

Election Protection will also be posting a comprehensive Twitter toolkit on the 866OURVOTE.org website for those who want to tweet us on Election Day. Voters can also access Election Protection's other free resources, the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and the voting information at 866OURVOTE.org.

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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.