Politics

50K Call Voter Hotlines With Reports of Suppression

| by Lauren Briggs

On Nov. 4, with Election Day four days away, more than 50,000 people have reportedly placed calls to one election watchdog group regarding issues of voter suppression and intimidation.

People have called in with reports of voter registration discrepancies in nine or more counties in Texas, where polling places had signs requiring voter ID verification, despite those same laws being tossed out by courts and declared unconstitutional, notes U.S. News & World Report.

"The litigation over Texas' voter ID law was closely watched, and it's hard to believe that election officials across the state were not made aware of the remedial order that was put in place by the courts," said Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law Executive Director Kristen Clarke. "We don't know the intent, but most certainly there's a pattern. These are not isolated incidents."

Some early voters in a primarily black and Latino part of Georgia waited in line for five hours to cast their ballots, as there was only one voting site available for more than 400,000 eligible voters.

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In Oregon, registered voters say they are receiving automated robocalls telling residents they are not registered to vote on Nov. 8, according to KVAL.

Voters also reported that at least one woman went to an early voting site in West Palm Beach, Florida, carrying a bullhorn and confronting those arriving at the polling place, notes U.S. News & World Report. Although the woman left after sheriff's deputies arrived and spoke with her, some voters left without casting their votes.

"Some of this we see in all elections, but this is one in which the rhetoric has been particularly toxic," Clarke said.

According to Clarke, voter intimidation happens in nearly every election. Although the number of calls placed to her committee's voter rights hotline are more or less in line so far with the volume it received in 2012 -- 175,00 phone calls by the end of the election -- more 2016 voters have actually registered complaints.

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If you experience or witness voter suppression or intimidation, inform a poll worker and call the Election Protection hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE. If that number is busy, or once you are finished, you may also call the Justice Department voting rights discrimination hotline at (800) 253-3931.

Sources: U.S. News & World Report (2), KVAL / Photo credit: David F. Martinez/Twitter

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