Advancement Project part of nation’s largest election protection program; voter protection advocates prepared to assist Missouri voters
ST. LOUIS – More than 500 voter protection advocates in Missouri are prepared to assist voters who have questions about their voting rights or face difficulties at the polls on Tuesday. This non-partisan effort in Missouri, organized by Advancement Project’s national office, a leading voter protection organization, is part of the nation’s largest Election Protection program, designed to assist any voters with questions or issues on Election Day. Voters are encouraged to call the Election Protection Hotline at: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) to speak to a lawyer in Missouri in real time.
“We will have 500 attorneys and poll monitors volunteering in Missouri to assist voters immediately with questions or problems they may experience at the polls – confusion over Missouri’s voter ID law, which recently changed following a court ruling last week; long lines; names missing from the rolls; misinformation or voter intimidation of any kind,” said Missouri Election Protection Coordinator Denise Lieberman, Senior Attorney and Co-program Director of Power & Democracy at Advancement Project’s national office. “We’re here to help voters understand their rights and assert them. Our goal: Every voter is able to cast a ballot.”
Advancement Project has published a series of palm card of voters’ rights, available in English & Spanish here. Poll monitors will distribute these voter rights cards at polls in Missouri on Election Day, answer questions and assist voters troubleshooting issues.
“We will work until the last ballot has been cast to respond to any barriers voters face,” said Blake Strode, Executive Director of Arch City Defenders and Community Affairs Co-Chair for the Mound City Bar Association, which helps lead legal advocates for Election Protection. “Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the Mound City Bar Association is proud to again join with our partners across the state to ensure all voters are able to cast a ballot.”
“As we enter these mid-term elections, the climate of voter suppression targeting voters of color is at an all-time high across the country,” said Nimrod Chapel, President of the State Conference of the NAACP, a partner in the Election Protection effort, and a plaintiff in an Advancement Project national office lawsuit challenging implementation of Missouri’s voter ID law. “As we fend off attacks on our right to vote, including confusion over voter ID requirements in Missouri, the work of voter protection advocates becomes ever more valuable. We will be out in the defense of democracy and to ensure that every voter can make themselves heard on Tuesday.”
“Given the high numbers of new voters, high expected turnout, confusion about the rules and a long ballot this election, advocates’ assistance will be crucial,” said Patricia Jones, President of the Kansas City Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, a plaintiff in a federal challenge filed by Advancement Project national office and partners to ensure that voters addresses are updated when they move. “It is important that voters feel safe and confident of their rights at the polling place.” The Kansas City APRI Chapter, along with the Kansas City NAACP, coordinate the Kansas City Poll monitoring operations for the Missouri Election Protection program.
The Missouri Election Protection effort will include poll monitors in St. Louis, Kansas City and other areas throughout the state who will distribute voter rights information and answer voters’ questions. Voter problems reported to a poll monitor or to the Election Protection toll-free hotline will be handled by Missouri attorneys at Legal Command Centers in St. Louis and Kansas City and volunteers in other parts of the state, who will be available to assist voters in real time, get dispatched to the polling place and connect with attorneys immediately to engage in legal advocacy if necessary.
A new national call center will operate this year out of the Kansas City office of Stinson Leonard Street, where local attorneys will answer hotline calls from voters in Missouri and Kansas.
Voters can call Election Protection toll free: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) to check their registration and polling place, ask questions or report any problems and get help. Voters may also call the Spanish/English hotline at 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682); the Asian Languages/English hotline at 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) and the Arabic/English hotline at: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287). Voters may also text questions to “OUR VOTE” at 97779.
The Election Protection Command Center in St Louis will be housed at: Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman, St. Louis, MO 63108. The Kansas City Poll Monitor operations will run out of the Kansas City NAACP, 1601 E. 18th Street, Kansas City MO 64108, while the Legal Command Center will operate out of the law firm of Stinson Leonard Street, 1201 Walnut, Suite 2900, Kansas City, MO 64106. Members of the media are welcome to observe.
Election Protection Organizers are hosting a pre-election day Voting Right Crash Course at the St. Louis Command Center on Monday, Nov. 7, 5:30 -7p.m. Credentialed members of the press are welcome to attend, and can RSVP via email to Jennifer Lohman at: [email protected].