Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Election Protection with MoveOn

The good folks at MoveOn have put together a wallet-sized card that has all the numbers and information you need if someone tries to stop you from exercising your right to vote. You can download it now at:

http://cdn.moveonpac.org/content/pdfs/ep_card.pdf

Plus, they have the following tips to make sure your vote counts:

  • Find your polling place ahead of time. Having this information ahead of time will help make sure that you can zip to the polls and back during that half-hour lunch break. You can locate your local polling place using your zip code at http://www.mypollingplace.com. In most cases, the site will tell you what kind of voting machines to expect and how they work. (By the way, if mypollingplace.com conflicts with information you've received from your county or state election officials, use the official information.)

  • When in doubt, ASK. Poll workers are there to help you. They'll show you how to work the machines, and if you're at the wrong polling place, they should tell you how to get to the right one. Every polling place should also have a posted list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if your rights have been violated.

  • Know your rights. If you're an eligible voter, you have the following rights:
    • If your name is not on the official voter list but you believe you are eligible to vote in that precinct, even if an election official challenges your vote, you have the right to cast a "provisional ballot."
    • If you're in line when the polls close, you should stay in line because you're entitled to vote.
    • In many states, your employer must allow you time to vote at some point during the day. You can't be fired for being late due to long polling lines.
    • You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone.
    • For your rights in your own state, check out this website: http://www.ourvote.com/

  • Bring photo ID, preferably government-issued ID or a utility bill, phone bill, or paycheck with your name and current street address. If you're a new registrant, it may be required.

  • Vote in the morning. In a great majority of polling places, everything will go smoothly, but by going early you can help prevent lines later in the day.

  • A regular ballot is better than a provisional ballot. If your eligibility to vote is questioned, ask if you can cast a regular ballot by providing additional ID or by going to another polling place. Only cast a provisional ballot if there's no alternative available.

If you experience any difficulties in casting your vote, report it. There are lots of organizations that will be working to respond quickly to complaints of voter intimidation, suppression, and fraud. Here's who to call:

  • The Democratic Party: Call 1-800-322-1144 in Virginia. In each swing state, the Democratic Party has set up a special hotline you can call if you're concerned that your vote won't count. Just call 1-800-322-1144 . This should be your first call if you run into a problem.

  • MoveOn PAC: Go to http://www.moveonpac.org/. On election day, our website will host a form where you can post your problem and get help.

  • Common Cause: Call 1-866-MYVOTE1. Common Cause has set up a hotline that you can call to report any problems you have voting. They'll document where problems are occuring, watch for wide-spread voter suppression, and provide real-time legal help to the hot spots.

  • 1-866-OUR-VOTE. This hotline has been set up by a coalition of nonpartisan groups to deal with the most serious problems on election day. They have hundreds of lawyers standing by to immediately respond to the most egregious problems. 1-866-OUR-VOTE is the "911" of voter suppression hotlines. Please don't call unless your problem is serious enough that you have to talk to a lawyer immediately.
You may be getting tired of the same old song, but I can't say enough about election protection right now.

Please make sure you are prepared to protect your own vote, and pass the information on.


Crossposted to BOP News.
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