You ng Democrats of America Chapter Election Protection Guide 2008 | Disenfranchisement After The Reconstruction Era | Elections

election protection organizing manual


Introduction Are you going to be kept from voting this election? You could be. You and millions of other young people may be disenfranchised from voting unless you are protected. Election Protection is a movement that has started to ensure that at risk populations- including young people, working class communities, and communities of color- are not blocked from voting. As a chapter leader you can help educate your chapter and your community about disenfranchisement and give them the tools to protect themselves this Election Day. Not to get all G.I. Joe on you, but this is important information that you and your members can use to help ensure your vote is counted! Go to for more information, or call the non-partisan Election Protection hotline 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) Top 10 Common Types of Deceptive practices and Voter Disenfranchisement: 1. Voter Intimidation • Organized misinformation campaigns often target young people, minorities, and other communities in the run-up to Election Day. • Many states allow partisan operatives to selectively challenge voters at the polls, sometimes resulting in challenges based on voters’ race, ethnicity or English language skills. • Partisan operatives often resort to “dirty tricks” in order to depress the votes of the opposing party. • State agencies have been known to abuse their authority in ways that can suppress the votes of identifiable communities.

Daily Pennsylvanian- Philadelphia, PA,USA - Oc tober 2008

False Flyers Aim to In timida te Voters A flyer has been distributed around Philadelphia universities and in low-income neighborhoods over the last month, incorrectly stating that voters with outstanding arrest warrants or unpaid traffic tickets might be arrested if they show up to cast a ballot. According to Zack Stalberg, CEO of the Philadelphia political watchdog group Committee of 70, "it would be extremely odd for somebody to go to all this trouble if it wasn't an effort at voter suppression." Sean Miller, president of Drexel's College Democrats, agreed that "whoever posted the flyers is obviously interested in suppressing the college and African American vote - the new voters who are excited about this election."

2. Tampering wit h Voting Machines and Ballo t Stuffing • Destroying election material, ballot stuffing, or discounting material to annul results for individual polling stations or even whole constituencies. • Physically tampering with the software and/or hardware of voting machines and writing if off as a technical problem.

3. Voter Challenges • Mass challenges of the eligibility of voters because of race and/or status. • Challenging voters without personal knowledge of a voter’s eligibility. • Challenging a voter’s eligibility based on Latino or Asian sounding last names.

Great Falls Tribune - Great Falls, MT, USA - October 2008

Judg e Kn ocks Voter Challenge A federal judge on Wednesday issued a scathing criticism of Republican efforts to challenge the registrations of nearly 6,000 voters in Montana. The judge slammed the effort as "mischief" that targeted young Democrats and may have violated voter-rights laws. Those statements came in an order released by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula. Molloy scheduled an Oct. 14 hearing in a lawsuit that alleges Republicans had aimed to intimidate voters in key Democratic precincts. "The timing of the challenges is so transparent, it defies common sense to believe the purpose is anything but political chicanery," Molloy wrote. He added that Republicans "filed false affidavits with the express intent to disenfranchise voters." "Eaton targeted counties with young and likely Democratic voters, who might have changed their mailing address," Molloy wrote. "In his zeal to protect what he sees as Montana's fragile democracy from these transient hordes, Eaton ignored the very law that answers his challenges."

4. Voter Identif ication and Proof of Citizenship • Millions of Americans lack government-issued photo ID, particularly young people, the elderly, people with disabilities, the working class, and people of color. Strict voter ID requirements will block thousands of legitimate votes for the one, rare fraudulent ballot. • Voter fraud at the polls is actually minimal, new voter ID laws are not based upon evidence of individuals impersonating other voters at the polls.

Wall Street Journal- New York, NY, USA – October 2004

Rep ublican Admi ts Systema tic Chall eng es of Bla ck and Hi spani c V oters in 200 2 "In the 2002 antifraud experimental run, hundreds of Republican activists slipped on their green vests and tested out the role of poll monitor. In Milwaukee, the volunteers contested the residency of some black voters and in the Hispanic communities they questioned the nationalities of others. Overall, not much came of it. Even Mr. Graber [Wisconsin Republican Chairman] concedes there were 'few reports of trouble.' But he says the "dry run" two years ago has better prepared the party for the challenges today."

5. Provisional B allots • The Help America Vote Act requires all polling places to allow people to fill out provisional ballots if their name is not on their precinct list. • Provisional ballots have been infamous for not being counted fairly or counted at all, so it is recommended that if possible you fill vote at your assigned precinct. 6. Disenfranchisement of People with Felony Convictions • Thirteen states disfranchise citizens who have completed their sentences, sometimes for life. • States adopted felony disfranchisement restrictions as part of their voter eligibility laws, like age and residency requirements. 7. Poll Worker Training • Better poll worker training would have prevented a significant number of problems during the

fall primaries. • Many poll workers earn less than they would flipping hamburgers. • Qualified poll workers are least available where most needed. • The computerization of U.S. elections presents special challenges for an aging and undertrained work force at the polls.

Washington Post and Baltimore Sun- Baltimore, MD, USA - January 2007

GOP Supp ression Ta cti cs in 2006 In Maryland, just days before the 2006 general election, copies of the Election Day manual for the Maryland Republican Party were obtained; in that manual, Republican Party workers were given false information about voters' rights, were told systematically to challenge voters and were advised to threaten election judges with jail time. Also in Maryland, on Election Day, flyers were distributed in Prince George's County, by the Ehrlich/Steele Republican campaign, falsely stating that African American elected officials had endorsed the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate and for Governor and misleading voters about the party affiliation of those candidates.

8. Inflation and/or Deflation of Voter Lists • Registering deceased or fictional people as voters. • Registering in a state or precinct with a contested election that you do not reside in. • Having land assigned to you prior to an election to qualify as residency and having it removed immediately following the election. 9. Voting Access to People with Language Barriers or Disabilities • People pretending to help blind, disabled, or multilingual voters and falsely recording their intended vote. • Only 20% of polling places are fully accessible to people with disabilities and elderly voters. • The Voting Rights Act federally mandates multilingual ballots to assist non-English speaking voters. 10. • • • • Tabulation Counting ballots multiple times, or not counting ballots at all. Bribery or intimidation of Election officials. Interfering in the data transmission of results or tampering with tabulation software. Spoiling votes by marking more than one candidate.

PROTECTION Many of these actions, deliberate or not, have successfully disenfranchised groups of voters where turnout is already too low. Educating the “at risk” population and preparing them to deal with the barriers that might be placed in front of them will ensure that these voices are heard. Young people are easy targets for this disenfranchisement either because it’s our first time voting and were unaware of the process, or because we move a lot and face registration barriers, or because we’re students on college campuses. By educating your chapters and your communities on the barriers to voting and how they can protect their votes we are all working to ensure the Democratic process works, and making sure our voices are heard and our votes are counted.

If you or someone you know feels that you were unrightfully kept from voting at a precinct, or you think your vote wasn’t counted fairly, call 866-OUR-VOTE to report any problems on or leading up to Election Day! Again, the non-partisan Election Protection hotline is 866-OUR-VOTE !! four Programs Your Chapter Can Do To Protect Youth Voters 1. Host a Protection Party (Appendix A) 2. Election Protection Educational Workshops (Appendix B) 3.. Party at the Polls (Appendix C)

Appendix A

host a protection party
WHO You and your Local Chapter WHAT A mixer, happy hour, or any other social event to raise awareness about Election Protection and how your members can: 1. Protect themselves and their voting rights on Election Day, and 2. Help to educate other members in their communities WHERE House parties, restaurants, happy hours, etc GET CREATIVE! WHEN The time is NOW! With these last weeks leading up to Election Day we need to get the word out to as many people as possible. WHY It’s a fun social event that will get your chapter’s name out there and ensure your voice is heard, your vote is counted, and that other people have the same rights. You can also volunteer as a chapter, and use your Protection Party to recruit others to volunteer, to work at the election polls, or to assist the Election Protection campaign leading up to the election and on Election Day.

Appendix B

Election protection educational workshops
WHO You, your Local Chapter, and your community WHAT A townhall event, a workshop, or an educational forum that your Young Democrats chapter can put on and host for your community. You can do this event as a Chapter or team up with other organizations and coalition partners to reach a wider base. WHERE You can open one of your chapter’s upcoming meetings to your community and instead of your normal meeting agenda put on an educational segment on the common types of voter disenfranchisement and how people can ensure a fair election come November. You can also team up with allied organizations to host a coalition meeting or workshop. WHEN Before November 4th!! WHY You will be growing your chapter, building coalitions, and doing a positive service to your community all at the same time.

Appendix C

Party at the polls
WHO You and your chapter members WHAT Host a Party at the Polls where you monitor polling places for voters being turned away, pass out refreshments to the line, play music, and hand out information about voter’s rights. WHERE All of the precincts in your county WHEN November 4th WHY You can provide entertainment and refreshments to long lines, and what better way to help voters in your area by actually making sure they are being allowed to vote on Election Day! You will be informing them of their rights and giving them the resources to report any intimidation or voter disenfranchisement. Check your state laws or call the YDA office for other rules that may apply. You will also be able to report any instances yourself directly to the non-partisan legal team at 1-866-OUR-VOTE so that immediate action can be taken to ensure that no one else is kept from voting fairly.

B est of l uck with your ev ents, a nd rem em b er to Keep it Bl ue!

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