The right to have one’s vote counted properly is a cornerstone of our democratic system. Making sure that our election systems are reliable and publicly verifiable enfranchises voters and increases public confidence and participation in our political process. In addition to exercising your right to vote, there are many things you can do to help safeguard our elections.
Be a Poll Observer
The legitimacy of elections depends on transparency: the ability of voters, concerned citizens, federal observers, and watchdog groups to observe the process of the election. Although you cast your vote in private, and no one has the right to know how or for whom you voted, the procedures by which the election is run can and should be observed in a healthy democracy.
Poll monitors, or poll watchers (or election observers as they are sometimes called,) should observe the following election procedures, including but not limited to:
• Pre-election testing of voting equipment
• Poll-opening procedures as equipment is set up to run
• Procedures throughout the day as voters come to cast their ballots
• Poll-closing at the end of the day, including the posting of polling place vote totals
• Be Informed – learn about the equipment used in your State
Election Protection Hotline
Verified Voting is proud to be a partner in the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition, which was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.
Through their state of the art hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) and 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund), the Election Protection Website, and comprehensive voter protection field programs across the country, the coalition provide Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive voter information and advice on how they can make sure their vote is counted.
Throughout the election process, Election Protection volunteers – more than 10,000 strong – will be entering data and information into OurVote live (a free tool from the Election Protection Coalition, the New Organizing Institute Education Fund, Craig Newmark’s craigconnects, and Ushahidi), an interactive environment painting the most comprehensive picture of election irregularities from the perspective of the voter available anywhere. Unique in the excitement of this political season, Election Protection focuses on the voter – not on the political horse race – and provides guidance, information and help to any American, regardless of who that voter is casting a ballot for.
We encourage you to download the Election Protection smartphone app! and call the hot line to report any issues or problems that you observe or experience in the process of going to the polls. That number again is 1-866-OUR-VOTE. In Spanish, 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA.