On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter-protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, provided live assistance to more than 1,000 voters through its 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. Voters reported complaints, some of which impacted systemic problems, or sought assistance with voting. Since 2001, Election Protection has been the go-to source for voters seeking assistance with navigating the voting process. The volume of calls into the hotline suggested increases in voter turnout relative to comparable election periods from years prior and expanded interest in local electoral contests such as district attorney races. The Lawyers’ Committee led-effort identified a number of problems including robo calls imparting false information to voters; poll workers providing false information regarding voter eligibility; police presence outside of polling sites, the proliferation of false information regarding the voting process on social media, and other deceptive and suppressive tactics as reported by voters around the country.
Specific examples include:
• Voter Intimidation in the form of police officers at polling places throughout St. Louis, Missouri, where a ballot measure concerning funding for law enforcement was on the ballot. Specifically, Proposition P would raise the sale tax in order to produce about $20 million in tax revenue, with most funds being allocated for raises and hiring for the St. Louis Police Department. The presence of officers at polling sites was reported throughout the day and comes on the heels of tensions between the minority and law enforcement community.
• Poll workers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania provided false information to Independent voters, instructing them they had to be affiliated with a party to vote in the municipal election. This information was false. Election Protection staff members intervened and the local elections supervisor corrected the misconduct of poll workers.