Voting Rights Experts Detail How They Are Fighting Problems at the Polls

LOS ANGELES – With midterm elections less than a week away, California Common Cause is working to ensure votes count across the state. The nonpartisan, nonprofit will have hundreds of trained volunteers in the field and answering the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline to help voters who have questions, concerns or spot voter suppression tactics.

“No matter our differences, every American deserves the same freedom to vote, free of barriers,” said Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause. “Though most Americans will not have problems with registering or voting, there are many eligible voters who will experience problems. We are here to help.”

Poll Monitors

California Common Cause has trained 215 Election Protection volunteers to date and expects to have more than 300 volunteers ready to deploy to polls in seven counties on Election Day: Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino and Tulare.

  • California Common Cause added Fresno and Tulare this year after receiving complaints about poll workers in 2016 who singled out Latino voters with suppression questions. For instance, they asked for IDs, birth certificates and if voters were “born in Mexico.”

  • More than 50 of the volunteers are law students from UCLA, UC Irvine and University of San Diego.

  • The poll monitors are trained to respond to voting misinformation and suppression tactics. One common situation during the 2018 primary in Los Angeles concerned voters being turned away because they were not on the roster. Monitors know to make sure everyone who wants to vote gets a provisional ballot.

Election Protection Call Centers 

Voters with questions or concerns are encouraged to call the national, nonpartisan election protection hotline 866-OUR-VOTE or text OUR VOTE to 97779. Questions will be answered by trained, nonpartisan volunteers through the end of Election Day.

  • California Common Cause and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will operate Election Protection call centers on Election Day in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Mountain View to assist voters who call 866-OUR-VOTE or text OUR VOTE to 97779.

  • More than 200 trained nonpartisan volunteers will aim to resolve calls on issues like polling location or identification, and more serious concerns will be escalated to county or federal officials.

  • The 866-OUR-VOTE election protection hotline has resolved more than 250 calls from California voters since early voting started October 8. Many calls concerned missing mail ballots, voting locations and how to register and vote after a move.

Election Day Media Opportunity 

Media are invited to interview voting rights expert Kathay Feng at the Los Angeles call center on Election Day. Follow @CommonCauseCA for real-time updates on Election Day. Contact Kati Phillips for call center location and details.