Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The New York Times in an editorial opinion today writes, Voting Rights – Upholding Democracy:
This year, voting is more than just the core responsibility of citizenship; it is an act of defiance against malicious political forces determined to reduce access to democracy. Millions of ballots on Tuesday — along with those already turned in — will be cast despite the best efforts of Republican officials around the country to prevent them from playing a role in the 2012 election.
Even now, many Republicans are assembling teams to intimidate voters at polling places, to demand photo ID where none is required, and to cast doubt on voting machines or counting systems whose results do not go their way. The good news is that the assault on voting will not affect the election nearly as much as some had hoped.
That is because voting rights advocates are prepared for those who would deny the constitutional right to vote to their fellow American citizens. Democrats and voting rights advocates have teams of lawyers and volunteers ready to respond to poll watchers mobilized by Verify the Vote, an Arizona offshoot of a tea party-backed group True the Vote dedicated to preventing non-existent voter impersonation "voter fraud." Controversy over poll watchers simmers:
"We are concerned about voter intimidation," said Sam Wercinski, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation.
Wercinski said his group will have 300 trained poll watchers around the state to ensure that people can cast votes without interference. He said his group also has a team of pro-bono lawyers on hand.
The Democratic National Committee and the Arizona Democratic Party also have teams of lawyers and volunteer poll watchers for election protection at the polls. The U.S. Justice Department is in Arizona monitoring this election and has resources available as well.
Under Arizona law, poll watchers must be appointed by the chair of one of the political parties in the counties where they will serve. A poll watcher can only interact with the highest-ranking official at a polling place and never talk to voters. Poll watchers not authorized (carrying a letter certifying their appointment by the political party chair) cannot be inside a poll location. The observer must remain outside the poll (in Arizona, outside the 75 foot limit).
Here are the Election Protection Hotline numbers you should keep handy if you are either voting at or working at the polls on Election Day:
DNC National Voter Protection Hotline: 1-800-311-VOTE (or 1-800-311-8683)
Arizona Democratic Party Voter Protection Hotline: 1-877-550-5706
Arizona Advocacy Network:
• 1-866-MYVOTE1 (866-698-6831)
• 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
• 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
You can Volunteer at http://866ourvote.com/.
U.S. Department of Justice:
Civil Rights Division staff members will be available by telephone to receive complaints related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws (toll free 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767 or TTY 1-877-267-8971). In addition, individuals may also report such complaints by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and by a complaint form on the department's website: www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/.