Election Protection launches in Colorado

4 WEEKS TO COLORADO PRIMARY, LESS THAN 4 MONTHS TO ELECTION DAY

Coalition to Work With Election Officials; Protect, Educate & Assist Voters

Denver - With less than four weeks before the Colorado primary elections and only 110 days before Election Day 2004, the nationwide, nonpartisan Election Protection program is launching in Colorado, starting with the distribution of the Colorado “Voter’s Bill of Rights” in Spanish and English.

The program provides voter information and assistance, expert legal help and poll monitors to help voters understand their rights, assist voters when problems arise, and counter attempts at voter intimidation and suppression. Election Protection targets historically disenfranchised communities with voter education and advice, including Hispanic, African-American and low-income communities.

"LULAC is proud to be part of the Election Protection coalition. There have been too many times when Hispanics have been disenfranchised at the voting booth. This program will ensure that Latinos will know their rights and be protected on Election Day," said Steve Garcia, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Colorado State Director. "The time has come to make our vote count like never before. Our voices must be heard on November 2nd."

Colorado has nearly three million residents of voting age, including young voters, minority voters, non-English speaking voters and disabled voters. Election Protection will work from now until Election Day to make sure that every vote counts. From now through the August 10th Colorado primary and the general election on November 2nd, a toll-free number (1-866-OUR-VOTE) will be staffed to provide voters with free legal assistance and advice. Volunteers, comprised of community members and lawyers and law students trained in Colorado election law, will assist callers with questions about where or when to vote, what the voter ID and provisional ballot procedures are, and provide bilingual legal help and advice if voters encounter problems at their polling places. Starting today, the Election Protection coalition and its volunteers will also begin distributing the Voters’ Bills of Rights to communities throughout Colorado. The document is also available online at www.electionprotection2004.org.

“The election fiasco in Florida four years ago showed us that we must be vigilant. We stand ready to assist Colorado officials and Colorado voters so that every vote counts,” said Evelyn Rojo, state coordinator for the Colorado Election Protection program and spokesperson for People For the American Way Foundation.

Today’s launch in Colorado follows on the heels of Election Protection launches across the country. In addition to Colorado, Election Protection coalition members will provide voter information materials in at least 30 states this election year.

“The stakes could not be higher. We must restore faith in our democratic system, bring voters to the polls, and make sure every vote is counted, “said Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way Foundation. “There are less than four months remaining to prevent another Election Day debacle. The countdown starts now.”

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