Many people who support the League of Women Voters know that Leagues across the country have been busy preparing for next week's elections by:
- Fighting for pro-voter reforms and against anti-voter rules;
- Registering voters;
- Educating voters through VOTE411.org and other methods, including hosting countless candidate debates and issue forums, to ensure voters have the information they need to vote and have their vote counted; and
- Mobilizing voters to vote through early and absentee voting opportunities and on Election Day.
These are all very important pre-Election Day activities, but what Leagues do on Election Day is just as important:
- Recruiting poll workers and working at the polls: League members across the country work as poll workers – no doubt League members are some of the most knowledgeable poll workers at any voting site.
- Poll Observer programs: State Leagues have set up poll observer programs to ensure that poll workers are treating all voters the same and following the various laws and regulation that come into play on Election Day and that election observers and others aren’t intimidating, wrongly challenging or otherwise interfering with a voter’s rights. This data is later used to help state and local elections officials identify and fix problems so they don’t persist into the next elections. Wisconsin is now in its fourth year of conducting their poll observer program.
- Participating in the Election Protection Coalition: LWVUS and many Leagues across the country also work in conjunction with Election Protection, a nonpartisan national voter assistance hotline administered by our voting rights coalition partner the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and the Spanish speaking hotline administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund. This coalition includes more than one hundred local, state and national partners.
Three election assistance hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE, 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (Bilingual assistance in English and Spanish) and 1-888-API-VOTE (Bilingual assistance in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi and Bengali) – will be available to assist voters who are having difficulties on Election Day. Voters can call these numbers and talk directly with someone who may help them rectify their problems. In many cases the help they receive will ensure that their vote is counted.
Volunteers will be entering information regarding these calls and volunteers at the National Headquarters will be responsible for identifying trends and/or systemic problems and work to ensure that those issues are dealt with in a timely fashion. I was fortunate to be a State Lead volunteer in 2012 and will once again have the opportunity to be one of twelve State Leads at the national headquarters next week. Considering the plethora of new voting laws and confusion over what laws are and are not in place I am anxious to see how this year’s issues compare to 2012.
I will write more about my experience after the election. In the meantime, please share these Hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE, 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota and 1-888-API-VOTE.
Between our involvement with Election Protection and League volunteers both working the polls and observing the polls, the League’s impact in helping voters exercise their right to vote will once again be evident on Election Day.
For a personalized voting guide on elections in your community, including candidate information, ID rules, polling place information and much more, visit VOTE411.org and enter your address.