Common Cause Recruiting Thousands for Election Protection Work to Prevent Voter Suppression, Intimidation Tactics

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With Election Day just a short time away, Common Cause continues to assist potential voters and recruit and train poll watchers and other volunteers across the nation. The good-government nonpartisan nonprofit organization has already signed up thousands of volunteers—and some are already answering election protection hotlines and monitoring polling places in early voting states.

The volunteers are trained in a nonpartisan manner in order to assist voters and ensure than our elections are secure. As an organizational leader in the national Election Protection effort, Common Cause’s state efforts are coordinated with national and state based partners to protect the right of every American to vote.

The vast majority of Americans will not have any problem registering to vote or casting their ballots on Election Day. But across the nation where problems have occurred in the past, or may occur for the first time in 2016, Common Cause and its more than 100 Election Protection partner organizations are working to educate voters and help safeguard their access to the ballot.

“Protecting the right of every American to vote is essential to the health of our democracy and we will continue to work to help safeguard that right through continuing work with election officials, voter education and outreach, poll monitoring and when necessary through litigation,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Volunteer poll monitors will be an important check to those who have been encouraged to descend on polling places in our inner cities to stop alleged voting irregularities. Those questioning the integrity of our elections are doing so irresponsibly, without any evidence, and their inflammatory rhetoric is an insult to the dedicated professionals who administer our elections admirably and securely. The best way for voters to counter these desperate conspiracies is to turn out and vote on Election Day.”

Over the past several years, we have seen a disturbing increase in the number and scope of attempts to suppress the votes of tens of thousands of American citizens. Some of these are attempts to deceive or intimidate voters with misinformation conveyed through robocalls or fliers. Many more of these attempts occur at the polls on Election Day, with people and groups using scare tactics and fueling misinformation, and challenging voters at the polls – sometimes illegally.

Throughout October, they will be conducting poll monitor trainings across the country. On election day, groups of trained monitors will be sent to polling places to help voters know their rights and to let them know about the Election Protection hotlines – 866-OUR-VOTE, 888-VE-Y-VOTA and 888-API-VOTE.

State by state, we will be putting trained poll monitors on the ground at polling places, especially in communities with a history of voting problems, where hotly-contested races exacerbate the chance of long lines, and other complications. We’ll also be in states where there may be confusion about voter ID requirements. Poll monitors will provide information, troubleshoot problems, and report bad practices to our teams to resolve them with election officials.

In the lead-up to the election, Common Cause will issue updates on Election Protection efforts that will include teleconferences with election protection experts, attorneys and staff in the states.

Also in the coming days Common Cause will issue two reports on issues expect to have a major impact on the upcoming election. Common Cause’s traditional ‘Swing State Report’ will examine the laws and procedures in battleground states and rate them accordingly. Another report on redistricting will examine the competitiveness of congressional and state legislative districts which reveals a lack of competitiveness (and often even a lack of opposition) for a startling number of districts.

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