The Issue: Helping voters understand new ID laws
The Initiative: The Election Protection coalition
Background: New laws requiring voters to show ID at the polls have swept the nation in recent years, most notably in Pennsylvania, effectively restricting the right to vote — particularly for minorities, the elderly, the poor, students and people with disabilities. These groups are the least likely to have ID and often have trouble getting it (they are also, incidentally, the groups most likely to vote Democratic).
This year more than 5 million Americans are at risk of disenfranchisement. The laws are theoretically meant to prevent voter fraud, but even defenders of the laws admit that in-person fraud is exceedingly rare.
The non-partisan Election Protection coalition works to defend the right to vote through education, outreach and a dedicated hotline. This year they’re focusing on helping voters without ID to meet the new requirements. Visit their website to learn the rules in your state, spread the word about the documents your neighbors will need at the polls, help potential voters to get the ID they need, and, if you’re a lawyer, paralegal or law student, volunteer to work in the call center or monitor the polls on Election Day.
- You can find out about the requirements in your state, make sure you yourself are prepared to vote in November, then help spread the word through the Election Protection website.
- If you're a lawyer, paralegal or law student, you can volunteer to work in the call center or deploy out into the field on election day. And if you're a community organizer, you can get tips on starting a program to help potential voters in your area.
- If you need help, call the voter hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.