Incidents of voter suppression—much of it targeting African-Americans—have dogged the registration period and now early voting sessions in several states across the nation.
Georgia has emerged, arguably, as the epicenter of the Republicans’ effort to suppress the Black vote in 2018. Brian Kemp who oversees the state’s election system is also the GOP candidate for governor. He’s using every trick in the voter suppression handbook to prevent Stacey Abrams from making history as the nation’s first Black woman governor.
Meanwhile, Black voters in North Carolina reported to the Franklin County Board of Elections on Tuesday that a poll worker intimidated them at an early voting site.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is one of the voting rights advocacy groups at the forefront of the battle. In addition to filing lawsuits and legal brief on issues surrounding voting rights, the organization administers a hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, year-round under the Election Protection coalition of advocacy groups.
“Election Protection is prepared to help make sure that everyone has the opportunity to exercise the fundamental right to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee.
The hotline is a resource for voters throughout the nations who want to report complaints or obtain information to facilitate voting. A team of trained legal volunteers will receive the calls and answer any questions.
Signs of voter intimidation include aggressive questioning about voting qualifications from poll workers and harassment that targets specific racial or ethnic groups, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
A problem that arises all too often is arriving at the polling station and discovering that one’s name is missing from the voting rolls.
If that happens, the ACLU recommends always asking the poll worker to double check. Ask the worker to search in the supplemental poll book if that fails. The names of voters who register close to Election Day sometimes do not appear on the regular roll. If all of that happens, voters should ask for a provisional ballot, which all eligible voters are entitled to no matter what.
The early voting period continues in many states up to Election Day. The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a useful information guide for each state.