Rights of Voters in the 2008 Election
With the battle for the President of the United States of America heating up and with Election Day just weeks away, many voters are still unsure of their rights as a voter. Am I eligible to vote? Is someone trying to influence your vote or keep you from casting your vote by intimidation or fraud? Were you removed from the voter rolls by overly zealous bureaucrats or election officials who are motivated by partisanship?
Examples of Voter Intimidation and Fraud
Consider these examples from www.866ourvote.org. Matthew recently moved from Louisiana, but he had never been told at the polls that he couldn’t vote until this year’s primary election in Arizona. The address on Matthew’s documents was current, and the registration card indicated he had gone to the correct polling place. However, his name was left off the voter rolls at the precinct, and Matthew was forced to vote by provisional ballot. With vote-by-mail so popular in Arizona, Matthew wondered how many people send in absentee ballots which are not counted because the voters’ names are left off the rolls. Those people have no recourse, and no way of knowing their names are not on the list. Further, while Matthew was at the polling place, several other voters were told they too were not on the rolls. It seemed as if it were standard operating procedure to tell one person after another that he or she had to vote by provisional ballot. Matthew wondered why poll workers were not more concerned about their voter rolls being out of date.
Location Confusion Leads to Uncast Vote
Aaron was first told by to vote at a nearby retirement home in his Indianapolis neighborhood. Once there, Aaron, and many other voters, learned they had been misdirected and were told to go to a local library to vote. Aaron headed to the library only to find that once again he had been misinformed. A poll worker at the library told Aaron that a nearby firehouse was his correct voting location. Unsure if he would ever find the right location, Aaron made the trip to the firehouse to learn he had reached the correct location, but that the polling station had closed. In utter disbelief over the absurd ordeal he just endured to cast a simple vote, Aaron called Election Protection to complain. His only hope now is that he will be given the correct information for the general election in November.
Bureacracy slows down voting procedure
Arthur arrived to his polling site at 7:00 a.m. He works long days and hates the long lines at polling places in the evening, so he made a point of trying to beat them. However, the polls were not yet opened upon his arrival because there was only a Republican election judge present, and the Democratic judge had not yet arrived. Arthur waited for over half an hour for his opportunity to vote before he ran out of time and had to leave for work. Because he knew this election was so important, he returned after work and waited in a long line before finally being able to cast his vote. Arthur said many people wouldn’t be as determined or even able to come back later in the day to vote. Arthur’s frustrations stemmed from the fact that bureaucracy should not slow down what should be a smooth voting procedure.
Voter Protection and Help
If you’ve experienced something that doesn’t seem right or if you have any questions regarding your rights as a voter, contact an Election Protection Legal Volunteer at 866 Our Vote, or call The nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) and 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund).
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