Voter advocates launch national election hotline in Georgia, elsewhere


Georgia is one of 26 states being tracked by on-the-ground volunteers for the Election Protection coalition of civil rights and voting access groups, as the coalition on Tuesday also officially launched a national toll-free hot line for voters to ask questions or report problems.

The effort comes as Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp has traveled the state to tout the accessibility and security of elections here this year. The state in 2010 launched a “Stop Voter Fraud” website and complaint submission form, which are accessible via the Secretary of State’s homepage (www.sos.ga.gov). It’s also sponsors its own voter fraud hot line at 877-725-9797.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said interest in Georgia was heightened over voting access issues. She also noted that Georgia was one of several states where late changes ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election changed voter rules that not everyone may be aware of.

In Georgia’s case, officials recently agreed to temporarily suspend an exact matching requirement for voter registration forms, potentially allowing tens of thousands of previously rejected applicants onto the rolls ahead of Election Day. The agreement came amid an ongoing federal lawsuit alleging that black, Latino and Asian-American applicants were far more likely than whites to be rejected due to mismatches with state and federal databases.

Callers to the 866-OUR-VOTE hot line can ask questions related to their state’s rules or status, or they can report problems either registering to vote or at the polls. They can also request help in Spanish or other languages through related hot lines sponsored by other coalition members. More information can be found on the coalition’s website, www.866ourvote.org.

On Election Day in 2012, the coalition reported receiving more than 80,000 complaints and questions.

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