Over 100 volunteers organized by Common Cause North Carolina were at polling places on Election Day to help voters ensure their rights were respected at the ballot box.
The Common Cause NC volunteers were at dozens of polling places in four cities from the time polls opened near sunrise until the polls closed after dark, providing assistance to voters and asking about their voting experiences.
Among the volunteers were many students from historically black colleges and universities, including Essence Shelton, a junior at Shaw University. Shelton urged young voters to get involved in the democratic process at the ballot box and beyond Election Day.
"This is our chance to have our voices heard," Shelton said. "We should be very proactive in our communities – protesting, helping people register to vote and giving people protection to vote. This is our future, so I encourage everyone to go out and vote and participate."
Dennis Burns, board chair of Common Cause NC, said the group's election protection efforts were intended to guard against attempts to discourage voter turnout.
"We unfortunately in the last 20 years have witnessed not only a decline in voter participation, but an increase in voter suppression tactics," Burns said. "So I think it's really important to be out here fighting to make sure that we turn that tide, we get more people voting and that people can be confident in their vote."
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