The U.S. Supreme Court declined to lift 30-year restrictions on a Republican National Committee (RNC) program that intimidates voters in communities of color. The Supreme Court did not comment on this decision.
The restriction came about after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sued the RNC for enlisting off-duty sheriffs and police officers to patrol polling places in minority precincts in New Jersey during a 1981 gubernatorial election. The next year, the RNC agreed not to carry out some programs it claimed were designed to combat voter fraud and to have the other reviewed by a federal court.
The AFL-CIO Voter Protection rapid response team has dispatched a team of lawyers to Summit County, Ohio, where there have been reports from across the country about problems with voting machines, lack of paper ballots, moved polling places and other issues.
In one precinct, some voters were in line from 6:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. before finally voting with provisional ballots.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of robocalls were sent out from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office this morning instructing voters that they could vote tomorrow. After about 30 minutes of the calls going out, they were stopped and the elections office issued a statement saying that the calls were inaccurate.
True the Vote, the Texas tea party-founded group whose main goal is to suppress and intimidate voters (especially voters of color), was barred from sending its poll monitors to polling places in Franklin County, Ohio, the AFL-CIO voter protection team and The Columbus Dispatch report.
True the Vote was denied status as official observers by the Franklin County Board of Elections yesterday after questions were raised about the veracity of the documents the group submitted. In Ohio, if a group of at least five candidates (local, state or federal) request it, the group is allowed to have poll monitors on Election Day. The Dispatch reports:
In an emergency alert sent to voters this morning over social media, radio PSAs, email and phone calls, the Election Protection Coalition told Pennsylvania voters:
Today is Election Day. Vote. You do not need a photo ID in order to vote in Pennsylvania if you have voted before. First-time voters will need to show some form of ID, photo or non-photo. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) if you have any questions or concerns.
The website The Root and AFL-CIO and SEIU staff members in Pennsylvania report an email and Facebook posting seemingly aimed at African American voters warning them not to vote an automatic “straight Democratic” ticket because it supposedly would not include President Obama.
Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania voter was told he would not be allowed to vote unless he removed a shirt with President Obama’s name on it. The AFL-CIO Voter Protection rapid response team reports both issues have been resolved.
We know that Nov. 6 in polling places around the country, there will be thousands of tea party-trained “poll watchers” and cadres of Republican lawyers on hand with one goal: to slow, suppress and intimidate voters.
But you can be prepared to protect your vote and your right. First, before you go to the polls, make sure you visit the AFL-CIO’s My Vote, My Right voter protection site where you can learn about voter ID laws and steps to take to protect your right to vote tomorrow.
Bowing to a huge public outcry, communications conglomerate Clear Channel has agreed to take down more than 100 billboards in predominately African American and Latino neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin designed, say voting rights and civil rights groups, to intimidate voters and suppress the vote.
Also, the company has agreed to post new messages on billboards in those Cleveland, Columbus and Milwaukee neighborhoods encouraging people to exercise their right to vote.
Poll monitors work outside polling locations on Election Day to greet voters, answer questions and report problems. This year, more poll monitors than ever are needed. Restrictive photo ID laws have challenged the right to vote, the cornerstone of democracy. Despite victories in Pennsylvania, where the photo ID law will not be in effect, and the restoration of early voting in Ohio, the battle is not over.
More than 200 union lawyers are prepared to combat any efforts to intimidate voters or suppress the vote and to ensure that everyone’s right to vote is protected between now (early voting is under way in many states) and Election Day.
The members of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee (LCC)—union lawyers in law firms and union legal departments—are “on the front lines to protect the votes of working families,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker in a telephone press conference today.