WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the midterm election season now underway, the Election Protection Coalition is activating its national network of lawyers and volunteers to ensure that eligible voters are able to cast ballots during the critical 2018 elections. With the administration continuing to wage attacks on access to the polls, most recently through a proposal in the Department of Homeland Security reauthorization bill to send Secret Service agents to polling sites across the country, the Coalition’s work to ensure access to the ballot box is more important than ever.
“Now more than ever, non-partisan voter protection programs remain critical to ensuring access to democracy. At a moment when we see states seeking to adopt restrictive photo id laws, burdensome proof of citizenship requirements and other policies that would burden the rights of voters, we know that vigilance will be required to ensure that all voters are able to have their voices heard in the 2018 midterm election cycle, said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Through Election Protection, we provide voters access to the information they need to cast a successful ballot and a vehicle to which they can report problems that may be unfolding on the ground.”
“Voting gives immigrants and people of color the ability to keep their elected officials accountable and transform their lives,” said Christine Chen, executive director, Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Vote. “We must work together to remove language barriers so we can have an equal voice at the ballot box in the 2018 midterm elections.”
In the wake of youth-led movements for justice, Rock the Vote is seeing a surge in soon-to-be first-time voters claiming their right to vote. However, more work must be done to ensure all eligible voters can exercise their right to vote, particularly young people and young people of color who are disproportionately affected by discriminatory laws,” said Carolyn DeWitt, president, Rock the Vote. “Up to 18% of voters ages 18-24 don’t have a photo identification with their current address – that’s over 5.5 million young people, many of whom are away at college that can not exercise their freedom to vote.
“Our democracy depends on citizens voting and on every vote being counted,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “This means increasing access for all voters because voting is not a “privilege” earned by speaking or writing perfect English. Voting is a right of all citizens.”
“If recent special elections are any indication we can anticipate a huge turnout in November and the work of our volunteers in the field will be key to make sure those elections run smoothly,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president, Common Cause. “Our election protection volunteers are the direct link to voters on election day, helping them by troubleshooting problems when they occur at polling places. Common Cause continues to recruit and train volunteers while working year-round with partners and election administrators to ensure voters are able to make their voices heard on Election Day.”
Election Protection will continue assisting voters throughout the 2018 election cycle, including next week for the Illinois primary election, to ensure voters can participate in the democratic process.