Volunteers Trained To Protect Voters

TracFone Wireless Provides Wireless Phones and Airtime to Support Election Protection Efforts

Miami, Fla. – Today, the Election Protection coalition in Florida trained volunteers as poll monitors and voter advocates for a nonpartisan test run to protect the rights of voters in Florida’s upcoming August 31st primary, in preparation for statewide operation of the program in the general election.

“The primary is a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Election Protection program in the general election,” said Jorge Mursuli, Director of People For the American Way Foundation’s Miami office. “This will help our volunteers learn the ropes, and help us make sure we’re ready for November 2nd.”

Election Protection, which will make a special effort to reach out to Hispanic and African American communities, also announced an expansion of its innovative partnership with TracFone® Wireless, Inc., to provide poll monitors with prepaid wireless phones in order to report Election Day problems and solve them on the spot. TracFone also provided phones for Colorado’s primary election last month. The TracFone partnership brings the nation’s largest off-the-shelf, pay-as-you-go, prepaid wireless service to volunteers working at the polls at the primary and again on Election Day.

Election Protection volunteers will be present from 7am through 7pm at various polls throughout Florida on primary day answering voters’ questions and addressing problems that may occur. In addition, Florida voters will be able to get answers about eligibility, registration and voting rights by calling 1-866-OUR VOTE.

“It’s critical that the Election Protection poll monitors have access to communication tools in the field,” said Mursuli. “Thanks to TracFone, our volunteers can get up-to-the-minute assistance for voters in need.”

The national Election Protection coalition was formed in the wake of the 2000 elections, when an estimated four million Americans were disenfranchised nationwide. Coalition members are working to protect voter rights in more than 30 states this election year. The nonpartisan coalition of local, state and national groups is committed to educating voters about their rights, and preparing for possible Election Day problems before they arise.

The coalition will distribute voter education materials, including the Voters’ Bill of Rights statewide; provide a toll-free voter hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, to assist voters who have questions about eligibility, registration, and their voting rights; provide free legal assistance to voters who encounter barriers or problems at the polls; and station poll monitors at key precincts on Election Day.

“There is no greater cause this election year than the ability to ensure that every eligible voter casts a ballot that is counted, especially right here in our own hometown,” said F.J. Pollak, president and CEO of Miami-based TracFone Wireless. “Since TracFone offers the largest digital coverage area in the U.S., it was only natural to partner with the Election Protection coalition to provide their volunteers with prepaid wireless service during the upcoming election.”

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TracFone Wireless is a subsidiary of América Móvil, Latin America's largest mobile phone provider, with more than 50 million cellular subscribers across the continent. TracFone is the largest prepaid wireless service provider in the U.S. today, with more than 3.5 million subscribers. TracFone's nationwide prepaid wireless service has no contracts, credit checks, monthly bills, activation or reactivation fees, deposits or minimum age requirements. TracFone Wireless is available at over 60,000 retailers nationwide, including Eckerd Drug, Kmart, Lowes, Office Depot, Office Max, Sam's Club, Staples, Target, Western Union, Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven. For more information on TracFone Wireless, visit the web site at www.tracfone.com.

Election Protection 2004 is the nation’s most far-reaching program to protect voter rights from now through Election Day and beyond. The nonpartisan voter information, advocacy and protection program is carried out by a coalition of nonprofit organizations dedicated to ensuring that every citizen has the opportunity to cast a vote that will be counted this election year. For more information visit www.electionprotection2004.org.

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