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Organization to assist voters with barriers to the ballot

10/31/2013, 1:56 p.m.

Election monitors from Advancement Project and its partners will be dispatched at polling places in Virginia and Pennsylvania on Nov. 5 to help resolve voter questions and address "last-minute attempts at voter intimidation".

The progressive civil rights organization notes that there are warning signs of problems already emerging in both battleground states, and the team of attorneys and advocates are dedicated to ensuring that every eligible voter can cast their ballot. Real-time reporting of problems and patterns on the ground will be provided to media.

“Once again, politicians have been hard at work this year pursuing policies that restrict, rather than expand, opportunities to vote,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “Our team has also been focused on dismantling these barriers all year, and we’ll bring that same focus to the polls on Election Day as we assist Pennsylvania and Virginia voters in making sure their voices are heard.”

In Virginia, Advancement Project has launched a voter education campaign through the distribution of bilingual materials including poll worker palm cards, a voter intimidation FAQ, and factsheets on “What Every Virginia Voter Should Know.”

In addition to monitoring polls on Election Day, the organization will lead Election Protection command centers in Northern Virginia and Richmond, fielding voters’ calls into the coalition-sponsored hotline and solving problems as they arise. Chief concerns include:

  • Virginia’s purge of thousands of voters, with no due process, just a few weeks before the election. This may cause confusion for voters who arrive at their polling place only to find they’ve been removed from the rolls.

  • Challenges to voters’ eligibility, particularly in light of the hundreds of Virginians with felony convictions who recently had their voting rights restored and are casting a ballot for the first time.

  • Poll worker confusion over photo ID. While Virginia passed a restrictive voter ID law this year, it does not go into effect until 2014 – and voters are not required to present photo ID to vote in this election.

“Our staff and community partners have been on the ground all year to get ready for Election Day through grassroots organizing, advocacy with election officials, community education, and litigation,” said Advancement Project co-Director Penda D. Hair. “Even during years like this one without a national election, our multi-pronged approach to voter protection remains critical as we make sure that all elections are free, fair and accessible for all.”