Since the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, states and localities have unleashed a number of schemes that seek to deny or abridge the rights of voters of color. Accordingly, Prepared to Vote equips voters with information about how to comply with election laws that are being or have been challenged in court by LDF because of their harm to communities of color, including confusing and onerous photo ID laws. LDF authored the compilation and review of these voting changes in our report Democracy Diminished, which has been cited in the New York Times and other major media outlets as the definitive source for this important information.
For more than a decade, LDF’s Prepared to Vote (“PTV”) initiative has disseminated non-partisan public education materials to prepare voters for elections and engaged volunteers around Election Day in targeted jurisdictions, primarily in the South, to work on the ground at polling places answering questions and providing voters with important information about how to comply with election laws. PTV also provides support to identify and respond to instances of voting-related discrimination.
During the Primaries and on Election Day, nearly the entire LDF office will be in the field working on voter protection. LDF will send staff volunteers to election monitor, coordinate with state-based partners, and build local volunteer bases in seven states in advance of the November election: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. Our reach and support will expand to other states in November through on-the-ground support and voter preparation palm cards, which you can download in advance below.
If you wish to speak with an LDF attorney to report voting irregularities or to seek advice on Election Day, please contact us via email@example.com. And of course you can always call the national civil rights hotline for Election Day issues at 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or the United States Department of Justice, Voting Section by phone, 800-253-3931 and email, firstname.lastname@example.org
A new initiative of LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute, the Voting Rights Defender (“VRD”) project, will broaden LDF’s monitoring and tracking of voter suppression efforts in targeted jurisdictions months in advance of Election Day to identify as early as possible those suppression measures (e.g. polling place changes, voter purges, local practices that result in long waits to vote on Election Day) that warrant a responsive action. VRD will connect local partners with a resource team to combat suppressive measures using public exposure/media coverage, advocacy efforts with local actors/decisionmakers (e.g. calls, letters, petitions), and, if necessary, litigation.
Together, the PTV and VRD projects will help to fill the gaps left by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, which gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA)—an essential protection for the right to vote. Section 5 required certain jurisdictions with a history and ongoing record of racial discrimination in voting to preclear voting changes through the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court prior to implementation to ensure that they were non-discriminatory. PTV and VRD projects will help fill the void left by the elimination of this preclearance protection by engaging multi-tactic strategies to identify and address voting rights barriers before the 2020 elections and in real time on and after Election Day
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