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Election Protection Off to a Great Start Assisting Voters Across the Country

November 5, 2013

Election Protection Off to a Great Start Assisting Voters Across the Country
Live Toll-Free Hotlines (1-866-OUR-VOTE, 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA and 1-888-API-VOTE) 

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2013 Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, is in full swing helping voters across the country to cast meaningful ballots through a comprehensive voter protection program.  Volunteers are available throughout the day to assist voters with questions and to ensure that all voters know their rights. The 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) hotline has already received over 600 calls and is deploying field volunteers to address issues at the polls in VA, NY, MI, MN and PA.

Election Protection has been monitoring voting problems closely in Virginia, where a close gubernatorial race is drawing a relatively high turnout among voters. Some voters had difficulty voting early in the day, as a number of polling places did not open on time or had trouble with electronic polling books and voting machines. Election Protection received reports that these polling places, specifically in Loudoun and Richmond Counties, were not prepared with backup paper ballots.  Volunteers on the Hotline and in the field addressed these problems swiftly by communicating directly with election officials.

Voter ID laws continue to affect the ability of some voters to cast a ballot. One Texas voter with a current voter registration card and multiple forms of ID was not allowed to vote because her driver’s license was expired and her other state-issued ID card did not reflect her current address. Election Protection also received calls from Pennsylvania voters concerned that they would be required to show photo ID at the polls.

Election Protection has also received reports of electronic scanners and voting machines down in New York, electioneering issues in Pennsylvania, and accessibility problems across multiple states.

“The Lawyers’ Committee is working with our Election Protection volunteers and partners to protect the rights of voters across the country,” said Chris Melody Fields, Lawyers’ Committee Manager of Legal Mobilization & Strategic Campaigns.  “Ensuring the fundamental right to vote for all voters remains our top priority, including during non-presidential elections.  Whether voting for mayor, governor, city council representatives and/or ballot initiatives or referendums, each vote counts and matters to our communities.”

Voters may continue to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) toll-free with any questions or issues that may arise.   Spanish-speaking voters may seek bilingual assistance through the 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682) hotline and Asian language voters may seek assistance through 1-888-API-VOTE (1-888-274-8683), which will provide assistance in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, and Bengali. The English and Asian language hotlines will be staffed until 8:30 p.m. EST today and the Spanish hotline will be staffed live until 11 p.m. EST.

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 - including the NAACP, Advancement Project, National Bar Association, Native Vote, Common Cause, Asian-American Justice Center, APIA Vote, Asian American Legal Defense Fund, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund (NALEO), New Organizing Institute, Rock the Vote, Verified Voting Foundation, National Education Association and the Brennan Center for Justice - at the national, state and local level and is providing voter protection services nationwide.

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