For Immediate Release Nearly 210,000 calls to voter alert line, final tally shows

Posted on November 15, 2004


Common Cause Education Fund Press Release

Fels Institute of Government at the University of

Pennsylvania

The Reform Institute

The Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University

The National Constitution Center

See contact information below

More than half of callers trying to reach election officials on Nov. 2 failed to connect

Nearly 210,000 people called the 1-866-MYVOTE1 voter alert line to seek information about their polling place, make a statement about their voting experience, and/or connect to their local elections boards. Nearly 97,000 calls were made on Election Day, while more than 111,000 calls were made in the week prior and days immediately after Election Day. More than 102,000 calls were from voters seeking information about their polling place location, and about 55,770 voters left recorded statements describing their voting experience. Nationwide, almost half of the callers who attempted to connect to their local board of elections either before or after Nov. 2 failed to do so. On Election Day, 55 percent of callers who attempted to reach their board of elections failed to connect.

Voters in New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida placed the most calls into the voter line. The top counties producing calls were Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Broward County, Florida, and Los Angeles County, California. A list of the top ten states and counties that made calls appears in Table 1, below.

On Election Day, a team of students from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania listened to and coded, or placed into categories, a selection of more than 7,500 calls. Bilingual students from Johns Hopkins University handled Spanish-language calls. Of the coded calls, most - about 39 percent -- were about registration problems. More than 20 percent of the coded calls were about absentee ballot problems, while about 13 percent concerned poll access. See Table 2 for a listing of the categories of concerns voters reported.

The 1-866-MYTVOTE1 line was sponsored by a consortium of groups that included the Common Cause Education Fund, the Fels Institute for Government at the University of Pennsylvania, the Reform Institute, the Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where the operation was headquartered. The alert line was a featured component of the Election Day programming of NBC News and MSNBC.

The 1-866-MYVOTE1 phone line was made possible with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Proteus Fund, and individual donors. The technology behind the call was developed and managed by a group of companies led by Infovoter Technologies, Contact Solutions Inc., and NSpace Labs.

Table 1

State

Calls

State

County

Calls

NY

24,426

PA

ALLEGHENY

6,323

PA

23,927

CA

LOS ANGELES

6,120

FL

19,560

FL

BROWARD

5,992

CA

18,302

NY

NEW YORK

5,319

TX

13,251

PA

PHILADELPHIA

4,263

MI

10,019

NY

QUEENS

3,893

NJ

8,313

FL

PALM BEACH

3,756

OH

6,953

NY

KINGS

3,704

SC

6,714

TX

BEXAR

3,620

WI

6,397

MI

WAYNE

3,477

Total

137,862

Total

46,467

Table 2 (categories of concern)

Registration, identification, mechanical, provisional, intimidation, access (to poll), other

Contact: Mary Boyle, Common Cause, 202-736-5770

Chris Patusky, Fels Center, 215-746-5034

Cecilia Martinez, The Reform Institute, 703-535-6897

Adam Segal, Hispanic Voter Project, 202-265-3000

Denise Venuti Free, National Constitution Center, 215-409-6636

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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