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Election Protection Coalition Ready to Assist Voters During Evening Rush

September 14, 2010



John Anderson      

(914) 471.1753 (cell)                                                          

(202) 445-6101




Frequent Voter complaints focus on Lack of Privacy and Problems with Machines

 (NEW YORK, NY) SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 – The transition to optical scan ballots continues to cause problems for New York voters.  A frequently heard complaint today at the Election Protection Hotline—1-866-OUR-VOTE—concerned the lack of privacy afforded by New York State’s new voting system. Numerous callers complained about the inadequacy of the so-called “privacy booths,” while others called in to say that poll watchers could (and often did) look at their completed ballots before putting them through the new electronic scanning devices.  

Eric Marshall, manager of legal mobilization at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, reports that, “As we have throughout the day, Election Protection stands ready to assist voters if they experience problems or have questions this evening.  New Yorkers should call 1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683) so we can assist them or dispatch resources to address the problem.”

It is still too early to determine how widespread the problems were this morning.  But, Election Protection has seen a consistent pattern of problems in polling places across the city that is cause for concern.  “We hope to work with the Board of Elections of the City of New York between now and November to ensure that the problems we’ve seen today are not repeated,” said Eunice Rho, associate counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. 

The 1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683) toll-free hotline is available in English and Spanish to any voters who need information, assistance or guidance in understanding their rights. It is open to the entire voting public, but targets historically disenfranchised communities, including: African-American, Asian Pacific Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and other racially and ethnically diverse communities: seniors; young people; low-income voters; and individuals with disabilities.

Election Protection’s nationwide, nonpartisan voter protection program was the largest in the coalition’s history in 2008. Over 10,000 legal volunteers fanned out across the nation to assist voters, poll workers and election officials in 25 states; the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline received over 240,000 calls from voters seeking assistance; and the www.866OurVote.org website was visited by more than 283,000 people in the six weeks leading up to Election Day.

For more information about Election Protection and the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline, please visit: www.866OurVote.org