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Election Protection Off to a Great Start Assisting Primary Election Voters Washington, D.C.

September 14, 2010



Stacie B. Royster

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law                                                

(202) 662-8317          
(202) 445-6101 (cell)

Election Protection Off to a Great Start Assisting
Primary Election Voters Washington, D.C.

Balance of Reports Reflect Malfunctioning Machines

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, is in gear helping voters across Washington, D.C. to cast meaningful ballots through a comprehensive voter protection program.  Volunteers will be available throughout the day to continue assisting Primary Election Day voters with questions and to ensure that all voters know their rights. 

“The most widely reported problems this morning have been broken machines, which in most cases have been alleviated by the use of paper ballots, and lack of access to some sites,” said Marcia Johnson-Blanco, acting co-director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law’s Voting Rights Project.  “Field volunteers are on the ground to assist voters in person or place telephone calls to the appropriate election official and Election Protection experts are here to help.  Voters in D.C. as well as Maryland may call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) toll-free until 8:30 p.m. EST with any questions or issues that arise at polling areas.”

Some specific incident reports include:


  • Ward 3, Precinct 50 (Chevy Chase Community Center)
    • Poll workers were not accepting Comcast bills as identification. In certain circumstances D.C. does not require photo IDs, for example, in some cases a bill showing the person’s name and current address will be sufficient. The DC Board of Elections was contacted and the problem was resolved.
  • Ward 4, Precinct 62 (Shepherd Elementary School)
    • Polling place opened late because voting machines were not working (poll workers did not have machine activation codes). Polling place eventually opened. Voters initially were able to vote by paper ballot. By 7:40 voting machines were operating.
  • Ward 8, Precinct 126 (W.B. Patterson Elementary School)
    • Voter cards inserted into machines allowed voters to choose wards 2, 4 or 7.  However Precinct 126 is in Ward 8. This problem persisted until 8:30 a.m.
  • Ward 7, Precinct 103 (Plummer Elementary School)
    • Voting machines inoperable.
  • Ward 2, Precinct 141 (Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center )
    • Front desk security guard required a photo ID for building entrance, however a photo ID is not always required to vote in D.C. This polling place is located inside the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center. The D.C. Board of Elections was contacted and the problem was resolved.


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.