October 27, 2004

Emergency aid for U.S. voters.

If you've been paying any attention at all, it's not news that there will likely be problems at the polls in some or all of the swing states in next week's US presidential elections. In Ohio, for example, the Republican party has hired 3600 people to challenge Democratic voters at the polls (paying them each US $100 for their efforts). And in Florida, the GOP has targeted black voters especially — and has already hired private detectives to sit outside early polling locations and photograph everyone who goes in.

From these actions, it's pretty clear that the Republicans know how the election will turn out if the don't work hard to slow down polling and discourage people from voting. By the same token, it shows how important it is for each and every Democratic voter to cast their ballot against Dubya.

Probably you won't have any trouble casting a ballot on Tuesday, but in case you do, MoveOn PAC has come up with this handy card telling you what to do and who to call if your right to vote is challenged:

Emergency voting help

You can download a PDF file containing a printable version of the voter card if you go here.

MoveOn PAC also has the following advice for what you should do before you go to the polls:

Find your polling place ahead of time. Having this information ahead of time will help make sure that you can zip to the polls and back during that half-hour lunch break. You can locate your local polling place using your zip code at http://www.mypollingplace.com. In most cases, the site will tell you what kind of voting machines to expect and how they work. (By the way, if www.mypollingplace.com conflicts with information you've received from your county or state election officials, use the official information.)

When in doubt, ASK. Poll workers are there to help you. They'll show you how to work the machines, and if you're at the wrong polling place, they should tell you how to get to the right one. Every polling place should also have a posted list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if your rights have been violated.

Know your rights. If you're 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're in line when the polls close, you should stay in line because you're entitled to vote.

--In many states, your employer 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.

--You have the right to vote without being intimidated by anyone.

--For your rights in your own state, check out this website: http://www.ourvote.com/

Bring photo ID, preferably government-issued ID or a utility bill, phone bill, or paycheck with your name and current street address. If you're a new registrant, it may be required.

Vote in the morning. In a great majority of polling places, everything will go smoothly, but by going early you can help prevent lines later in the day.

A regular ballot is better than a provisional ballot. If your eligibility to vote is questioned, ask if you can cast a regular ballot by providing additional ID or by going to another polling place. Only cast a provisional ballot if there's no alternative available.

Posted by Magpie at October 27, 2004 10:48 AM | Elections | Technorati links |