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Stop, Drop, and Poll - What to Do if You Have Problems Voting

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UncountedMary Donating Member (30 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-08 09:29 AM
Original message
Stop, Drop, and Poll - What to Do if You Have Problems Voting
Anecdotal evidence is coming in fast and furious of early-voting incidences including voting machine malfunctions in Ohio, Putnam, and Jackson Counties in West Virginia and Davidson and Decatur Counties in Tennessee, as well as hidden problems with "straight ticket" voting (confirmed by Snopes) in Texas and West Virginia. A more complete list of the problems so far can be found at VotersUnite.org.

It CAN happen to you. If it does, here are a few suggestions on what to do:

1) Video Your Vote
If possible, plan ahead for any problems by bringing a video camera with you to Video the Vote. Then, spread it around (mailto:mary@uncountedthemovie.com ">send it to us and we'll help). Remember, the focus should be on gathering evidence and not telling stories. So, use video, audio, photographs, get names and phone numbers of witnesses, as well as voting machine serial numbers, names of poll workers, and document the time of day.

2) At the First Sign of a Problem, Stop*
At the first sign of a problem with your machine (or if you have any other problem listed below), stop what you are doing and ask to speak to the supervisor (skip the poll worker) at your polling location. Explain your problem. If they try and waive you off, call your main election commission number and ask to speak to the election commissioner until your problem is satisfactorily addressed. Keep in mind that many poll workers/supervisors will try and blame the voter aka "operator error." Do not leave your polling place until your problem is well-documented and addressed to your complete satisfaction and, if the problem is with the machine, that the machine is quarantined. Oh, and you get to vote.

3) File a Report. File Several Reports.
Your local polling place will have incident reports available to you. If they do not, call the main election commission for your county and ask for someone to bring one to you. Make sure that both you and the supervisor sign it. An example of a report is here (Hat tip: Wake Up and Save Your Country Voters Guide). The U.S. Election Assistance Commission also lists on their website where you can find out how to file a report in your state. Again, the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-Our-Vote can also help with any questions in this area.

4) Call the Election Protection Hotline
Report you incident to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-Our-Vote, especially if you feel you are being bullied or your incident is not being taken seriously. The ACLU has a hotline as well at 1-877-523-2792. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Greg Palast offer suggestions as well in their comic StealYourVoteBack.org.

5) Pledge to Stand Up to Stolen Elections
Go to NoMoreStolenElections.org and pledge to not concede until every vote is counted - and counted as cast.

*Problems can include: machine problems, polling place problems (machines not set up on time), switching or closing of polling place, voters forced to vote on a provisional ballot, long lines/waits, intimidation, unusual ID demands, poll workers asking inappropriate questions, etc.
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-08 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for posting this....will e-mail it to others. K&R nt
Edited on Thu Oct-23-08 09:56 AM by snappyturtle
edit: Welcome to DU! :hi:
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-08 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
2. on principle, i do not like early voting. but this time, i am urging people to
do it, so that if things are fucked up, there is time to fix it.
thanks for this practical advise. it is helpful to have something concrete in times of free floating fear.
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-23-08 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
3. Great links! only one thing. the lawyers committee still hasn't released any of their information
from the 2006 election, so it doesn't seem to be worth reporting it to them. report to the aclu or the league of women voters, or a poll monitoring group in your area.

if you are in LA County report your incident at: workthevotela.org.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
4. thanks for excellent, useful work. hope you don't mind,
but i posted this pretty much verbatim elsewhere, with thanks to you.
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machI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-24-08 05:06 AM
Response to Original message
5. #2 At the First Sign of a Problem, Stop
And talk loud enough for everyone in the room to know what the problem is.

If the poll works ask you to be quiet, talk even louder.

This will alert people in the line behind you that there could be a problem with the voting machines.
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morningglorysunday Donating Member (14 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-25-08 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
6. Regarding #3: what do you do if you vote on Election Day? Will your complaint be addressed in time?
I am just wondering if there are any other measures we can take that are more dramatic (calling media, etc.).
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