This week, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), released, “The 2016 Primaries In-Review” – a report that presents a broad review of the 2016 primary season and an overview of the problems voters faced across the United States electoral system, particularly in states formerly covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The report shares several voter profiles and gives detailed accounts of their primary election experiences.
“The barriers faced by voters this primary election season makes clear that, 51 years later, we continue to need the important protections provided by the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“Throughout the primary election season, Election Protection’s 866-OUR-VOTE hotline received more than 22,000 calls and complaints from voters across the country, many of whom faced barriers at the polls. Election Protection will remain active between now and November to ensure that all voters are able to participate in our democracy.”
The report highlights voting problems and litigation updates in ten states, as well as the personal stories of voters from Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Voters like Rhondalynn T. of Georgia, who encouraged voters to stay in line with her when election workers told them to leave the polling place, shares her story in the report.
Likewise, 2016 Election Protection volunteer, Reverend Roger H. of North Carolina, shares the joy he felt when he helped a 93-year-old woman cast a ballot. In addition to these and other voter stories, the report includes Election Protection’s broad recommendations for working toward better electoral processes for voters and election officials.
With less than 100 days before the November 8 Election Day, the report urges Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act, following the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby County, Alabama v, Holder which gutted the Act. The report also encourages officials to develop and implement election administration plans to ensure smooth elections, just as voters must make plans to vote.
“The stories extracted from the thousands of calls to 866-OUR-VOTE illustrate the American voter’s strong will to cast a ballot that counts and highlight the problems that characterize this nation’s electoral process,” said Jennifer L. Patin, writer and editor for the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers’ Committee and author of the report. “The voters who agreed to share their stories help to humanize the voter experience and illustrate Election Protection’s effectiveness during election seasons.”
This report is part of Election Protection’s ongoing series of publications and interactive tools about Election 2016.