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Report: Uncovering Flaws in Election Administration

During last year’s election cycle, 68,992 voters called two national voter hotlines where their voting complaints, cries for help, and views of the process were recorded. This report ensures these voices, from real voters who cared enough not only to take the time to vote but to call when they encountered a barrier, are not forgotten.

“Just went to my local polling station and tried to vote. I was told by them that my name was in the computer but they did not have it on the [polling place] list so I couldn’t vote.” Palm Beach County, Florida

“I had trouble at the voting booth this morning. I put the access card in, it beeped, it did not advance. And I pushed it in a little further again, and then it said I voted. And I did not; I never saw the screen advance. And I approached the woman, the voting person there and they said, ‘well, sorry. You already voted.’ Well, I don’t know who I voted for, so that was my problem.” Lehigh County, Pennsylvania

 

What will the next election look like?

2008 saw record turnouts and some very decisive victories, but many elections, up and down the ticket, are won and lost in smaller margins. During last year’s election cycle, 68,992 voters called two national voter hotlines where their voting complaints, cries for help, and views of the process were recorded — both for use on Election Day to correct problems at the polls, and, more importantly, for use in the months following Election Day as the basis for instituting reforms. This report, based on calls from both voter hotlines, ensures these voices, from real voters who cared enough not only to take the time to vote but to call when they encountered a barrier, are not forgotten.

We invite you to join us in listening to their stories and read our report highlighting election problems for these voters who deserve solutions.

 
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Listen:

We pulled over 900 voting concern calls from the 68,992 calls reported into the CNN and MYVOTE1 hotlines. You can hear a sample of those calls above, or listen to specific calls here.

 

Background

Voter Action served as the co-sponsor with the NAACP National Voter Fund of the Watch the Vote 2008 Project, a non-partisan comprehensive election monitoring and election protection effort for the November 2008 election. In collaboration with InfoVoter Technologies, the project monitored calls to the CNN and MYVOTE1 voter hotlines and, in targeted states, initiated follow-up actions to protect the rights of voters. Further, the project partnered with on-the-ground citizen networks in seven states (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina and Pennsylvania) to assist in verifying election problems as they emerged via the hotlines and to help address such problems on Election Day. The Watch the Vote 2008 Project also conducted pilot monitoring programs for the Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana 2008 primaries.

This report, authored by Advancement Project, NAACP National Voter Fund and Voter Action, draws on the recorded calls of voters that they were eligible to vote but nonetheless prevented from voting during the 2008 presidential election. Read More

Congressional Hearing

On July 23, 2009, we presented our joint report before a hearing of the Committee on House Administration of the United States House of Representatives. The hearing included testimony from Tom Joyner, a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host who served as the primary media promoter of the MYVOTE1 hotline, and from Elizabeth Westfall, director of the Voter Protection Program of Advancement Project, one of our organizational partners in authoring and releasing this report. See a video archive of this testimony here.