Common Cause to Deploy to Polling Places Nationwide on Election Day
- Dale Eisman
Common Cause staff and volunteers will deploy to polling places across the country on Tuesday, looking to ensure that every eligible voter has an opportunity to participate in the 2013 election.
While only two states, New Jersey and Virginia, have statewide contests this year, voters across America will decide on ballot measures and elect thousands of mayors, sheriffs, council members, and other local officials.
Nationally, the Election Protection coalition hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, is open today from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. EST, and on Election Day from 5:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. to help voters with information about voting locations and hours and to field questions and complaints about problems at the polls. The Spanish hotline 1-888-VEY-VOTA and the Asian American Pacific Islander hotline, 1-888-API-VOTE, will also be available for voters across the nation. Additional information is available at the coalition website www.866ourvote.org.
Here’s a look at some of the election protection plans among Common Cause’s state chapters
California — Common Cause is increasing its role in anchoring California’s Election Protection efforts, amid indications that a group connected to the national TrueTheVote organization and its push for restrictive voting laws is becoming more active. Common Cause has identified polls in Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego for monitoring and developed a Poll Monitor Training and Toolkit for monitors throughout Southern California. We’re also identifying partners in Southern California regions where vulnerable populations may be targeted for harassment and working with the Election Protection coalition to recruit and train volunteers and lawyers for voter assistance call centers in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Data from each call will go into a central database to spot and troubleshoot problems across the state.
Colorado — Common Cause poll monitors will deploy to precincts and voter service centers for the first election since passage of comprehensive legislation to modernize Colorado’s voting systems. Common Cause also leads Just Vote! Colorado Election Protection (JVCEP), a coalition of non-partisan public interest groups that runs www.justvotecolorado.org and provides voters with basic information about the election, including webpages for each county that list the locations and hours of Voter Service and Polling Centers and ballot drop-off locations.
Connecticut — Common Cause volunteers will survey voters in five targeted municipalities to spot glitches as the state moves to Election Day/Same Day voter registration and same-day voting. Common Cause also will be distributing a palm card informing voters about the state’s Voter ID requirement.
Massachusetts — Common Cause is running an election protection effort, including poll monitors and a hotline in the city of Lawrence, where a recent state report found widespread irregularities in a recent preliminary election.
Michigan — Partnering with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Common Cause will lead a volunteer effort on the ground in Detroit, responding to incident reports made to the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, and working with partners to identify problems at polling locations.
New York — Common Cause is working with NYPIRG on a call center for New York City, organizing volunteers at polling locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, and utilizing their uniquely designed PollWatch USA app (http://pollwatch.us/#about), to help track problems on Election Day.
North Carolina — In the wake of regressive changes in the state’s election laws, Common Cause has ramped up election protection activities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), where we’ve run a robust election protection and voter engagement program over the last several election cycles.
Pennsylvania — Common Cause volunteers will be at precincts in Allentown in Lehigh County to assist voters with their voting experience. Common Cause/PA will also coordinate efforts among election protection organizations, county elections departments, and the Department of State to respond to any problems observed locally and patterns of problems observed statewide. In particular, some continued confusion is anticipated regarding photo ID requirements.
Texas — Common Cause is working with the Texas Civic Engagement Table and Empower the Vote Texas to assist voters with the Texas Constitutional Amendments Elections. For information about the amendments, we are recommending voters visit http://progresstexas.org/tags/2013-constitutional-amendments and view the Progress Texas Voting Guide. We’re also working to assist voters in Houston’s municipal elections and urging voters to visit www.GotIDTexas.org for information and assistance in understanding and meeting the requirements of the new voter ID law.