Coalition Seeks to Engage Election Officials; Protect, Educate & Mobilize Voters
Cleveland - Demands on our voting systems are at an all-time high due to new federal requirements for state election officials, and turnout in the coming election is expected to be massive. To prepare for these demands, the Voices of the Electorate (V.O.T.E.) coalition today launched the nationwide, nonpartisan Know Your Rights/Election Protection program to prepare for this year's presidential election.
Throughout the nation, Election Protection partner organizations and others are conducting aggressive voter registration and education programs across the country. Election Protection is working with election officials to identify and prevent problems. On Election Day, the program will station “right-to-vote” monitors at polling places around the country and offer a toll-free hotline to provide voters with instant access to free legal advice. “Voters’ Bills of Rights” are planned for 30 states and thousands of volunteer attorneys, law students, and poll monitors are already signed up.
“We welcome the efforts of the Election Protection coalition to educate and assist voters in Ohio, and reach out to communities that are specially vulnerable to voter suppression and intimidation. The more information available to voters, the better,” said Michael Vu, director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
In Ohio, there are approximately 8.3 million people of voting age. Many of these people are from traditionally disenfranchised populations, including young voters, minority voters, non-English speaking voters, or disabled voters. The goal of Election Protection is to make sure that every voter in Ohio has the opportunity to vote on Election Day, and that every vote counts.
“No one wants to see a repeat of the fiasco in Florida in 2000 – not in Florida, not in Ohio, not anywhere in the nation,” said Vicky Beasley, deputy field director for People For the American Way Foundation. “The antidote to election problems is a well-informed voting population with access to good advice and on-the-spot legal help. That’s what Election Protection is all about.”
Election Protection is the nation's most ambitious non-partisan program for preventing Election Day disenfranchisement. The coalition of state and national allies seeks to ensure that every eligible voter casts a ballot that counts on Election Day and conducts aggressive voter registration and education programs to reach people who haven't been voting. In addition to Florida, V.O.T.E. is launching the program in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Georgia and Ohio.
“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 six months remaining to prevent an Election Day debacle. The countdown starts now.”