Protect Your VoteOctober 29, 2008
The following was sent to members of AAUW’s Action Network last week, but with the election just days away the information bears repeating.
Be Prepared on Election Day
- Find your polling place ahead of time. You can locate your local polling place using your zip code at Vote411.org or MyPollingPlace.com.
- Find out which forms of ID your state requires by visiting the Election Protection website at 866ourvote.org, and make sure to bring those forms of ID with you.
Know Your Rights
If you are an eligible voter, you have the following rights:
- If your name is not on the official voter list but you believe you are eligible to vote in that precinct, even if an election official challenges your vote, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot.
- If you are in line when the polls close, you are entitled to vote no matter how long it takes to get to the booth.
- In many states, employers must allow you time to vote at some point during the day. You can’t be fired for being late due to long polling lines. Check your personnel policies with your employer.
- You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone.
- Visit the Election Protection website at 866ourvote.org for more information on your rights.
Know the Issues
- Find out where the candidates stand on issues important to women and girls. AAUW’s voter guides will help voters make informed decisions on where candidates in the presidential race and in hot congressional races stand on AAUW issues.
- AAUW’s Congressional Voting Record for the 110th Congress gives our members and the public critical information about how all members of Congress voted on AAUW priority issues.
Encourage Others to Vote
- Make voting a social outing; bring your friends and neighbors with you to vote.
- Wear your “I Voted” sticker the rest of the day to show your coworkers that you voted, and encourage them to vote, too.
- Forward this alert to your friends and family.
What If Something Goes Wrong?
First, document it. If there are specific individuals challenging your right to vote, intimidating voters, or interfering with the process, try to get their names. Write down exactly what happened, including the time of day, descriptions of the people involved, and any other details you can remember. A cell phone camera could be very useful in this process, if you have one.
Then, report it. There are many organizations that will be working to respond quickly to complaints of voter intimidation, suppression, and fraud. Here’s who to call.
- 1-866-OUR-VOTE. This hotline has been set up by the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. They have hundreds of lawyers standing by to immediately respond to problems at the polls. Call as soon as possible after you encounter problems.
- Voters who believe they have been the victim of racial discrimination in voting should contact the U.S. Department of Justice at 1-800-253-3931 in addition to the 866-OUR-VOTE number.
For more information, visit AAUW’s Voter Education Campaign. Together, we can ensure that women’s voices and issues are heard on Election Day.