Pennsylvania’s ‘Election Protection 2020’ Launched

(Harrisburg, PA) With just 39 days until November 3, the Pennsylvania Election Protection Coalition announces the launch of Election Protection 2020, a nonpartisan effort to ensure that every eligible voter can vote and that counties have the tools and policies in place to ensure that the Keystone State experiences a smooth election in November. 

Pennsylvania’s Election Protection Program has three key parts: 

Advocacy:

Coalition members are working with Department of State, county elections officials, and other elected representatives to enact policies and procedures that will make the election run smoothly.

“Election Protection Coalition members are meeting regularly with elections officials, and connecting them with elections experts from across the country,” said Scott Seeborg, Pennsylvania State Director, All Voting Is Local. “The Commonwealth can draw from the lessons of other states in administering vote by mail and voter communications, and can help by providing draft guidance and protocols.”

Voter Education:

“Every voter should have easy access to information about voting and have all the tools they need to make a plan about how they want to vote this year. Pennsylvania has more options for voters than ever before and information on these options must be made available and accessible,” said Maegan Llerena, Executive Director, Make the Road Pennsylvania.

Election Protection Field Program and Hotline:

The flagship of the Election Protection Coalition is the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline. The hotline is run by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and will provide Pennsylvania voters over 100 dedicated phone lines for Election Day.

“Voters are encouraged to call the hotline if they have any questions or if they have problems voting either by mail or absentee or in-person,” said Morgan Conley, National Coordinator – Election Protection, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“Our democracy suffers when eligible, registered voters are turned away from the polls, unable to find their polling place, or otherwise blocked from exercising their rights,” said Sara Mullen, Associate Director/Advocacy & Policy Director, ACLU-Pennsylvania. “We will have lawyers ready to go into court on behalf of voters throughout Pennsylvania.”

“Whether it is in-person, or by mail, PA voters have safe and secure means to cast their ballots and do their civic duty on Nov 3. If any voter thinks that their rights have been denied, there are free legal services through the Election Protection hotline,” said Ray Murphy, Deputy Director,  Pennsylvania Voice. “Especially if voters encounter difficulty getting registered to vote or signing up for a mail ballot, call, and you can be connected to a lawyer who will go to court with you if need be. In this election, we must all do everything we can to make sure our votes are counted.”

 

Every election year, we mobilize hundreds of Election Protection volunteers here in Pennsylvania. These trained, nonpartisan volunteers serve as voters’ first line of defense against confusing voting rules, outdated infrastructure, rampant misinformation, and needless obstacles to the ballot box.

Trained election protection volunteers, led by Common Cause, will also be monitoring polling places in Allegheny, Philadelphia and the collar counties, as well as targeted polling places in the center of the state. These volunteers will be observing social distance and current CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. 

Election Protection Coalition members are also conducting in-depth scenario planning to prepare for potential problems that voters may face on Election Day. “Planning ahead will help ensure that every voter’s voice can be heard — even if we see bad weather, equipment malfunctions, unexpected poll closures or other issues,” said Suzanne Almeida, interim Executive Director, Common Cause Pennsylvania.  “Hopefully, we won’t have to implement any of our contingency planning — but it’s better to be prepared than caught by surprise.”

The Pennsylvania Election Protection Coalition is a growing nonpartisan coalition of advocacy and community groups dedicated to ensuring that all Pennsylvania voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and to advance and defend the right to vote. The Election Protection Coalition is led by Common Cause Pennsylvania and includes Pennsylvania Voice, ACLU-Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security, All Voting is Local, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Fair Elections Center, CASA, Make the Road Pennsylvania, One Pennsylvania, Committee of 70, SEAMAAC and the National Urban League.