Poll Watching: Associations Have Your Back

Associations are mobilizing volunteers throughout the country this Election Day to make sure every vote gets counted.

Millions of Americans will be out voting tomorrow at polling places throughout the country. Although voters will elect a president for the whole United States, voting laws vary from state to state, and sometimes questions about process and eligibility arise at the polls.

That’s where associations are stepping in to help.

In crucial battleground states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, where voter ID laws have created controversy and confusion, organizations have been working to ensure that all eligible voters are granted the right to perform their basic civic duty.

“We’ve put out materials specifically aimed at individual voters so that they have the basic information that they need,” said Robert Brandon, president and cofounder of Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN). “Everything from one-page guides for [organizations] getting their members involved, or just urging their members to go [vote], so they know what the law is.”

FELN is also supplying members with palm cards to hand out to potential voters.

“If somebody’s going door to door, trying to convince people to go vote, they can hand them these palm cards and it’ll say, in the case of Pennsylvania, ‘You do not need a photo ID to vote in this election,’” said Brandon.

“There is a lot of miscommunication about what the reality of [voter eligibility] is,” said Lacy Durham, public service director for the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. The YLD developed the American Voter project to educate youth on the history and importance of voting.

“Another aspect of the project is for lawyers and other volunteers to actually help out in an even more detailed manner in the election process,” said Durham, noting that the YLD provides information for member attorneys to serve as election monitors at polling places.

The project’s website links a potential volunteer to his or her specific state page, where information on the jurisdiction’s voting laws and requirements is available.

Groups are also reaching out to assist in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“Every state now has a poll location lookup tool,” said Brandon. “So it’s trying to direct people and remind them that the polling place could have changed, particularly because of the storm.”

Will your organization be helping out on Election Day? Tell us how in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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