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In order to form a more perfect Union

Okay, my fellow Americans, it's less than 21 hours until the polls open on the East Coast. This is quite probably the most significant election of our lifetimes, and it's important for each of you to make sure your vote counts this year. For those of you who've already voted through either absentee or early voting, congratulations. For the rest of us, here's a checklist to help make sure our rights are protected and everything goes smoothly.

- Make sure you know where your polling place is ahead of time. Having this information ahead of time will help make sure that you can zip to the polls on your lunch break if need be. If you're not sure where to vote, you can look it up online at http://www.mypollingplace.com/ or http://www.democrats.org/ (the first one couldn't find my precinct info--thank you, State of Texas).

- Bring photo ID, preferably government-issued ID or a utility bill, phone bill, or paycheck with your name and current street address. If you're a new registrant, it may be required.

- Vote in the morning, if you can. In a great majority of polling places, everything will go smoothly, but by going early you can help prevent lines later in the day.

- When in doubt, ASK. Poll workers are there to help you. They'll show you how to work the machines, and if you're at the wrong polling place, they should tell you how to get to the right one. Every polling place should also have a posted list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if your rights have been violated.

- KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Don't let anyone stop you from exercising your precious right to vote! Read through the list below and be aware of your rights before you go to the polls, and use the information below if you encounter any harassment or intimidation:

· You are entitled to vote without being harassed or intimidated by anyone.
· If you forget your ID, you can still vote. (In some states, all you need to do is sign an affidavit. In others, you can vote by provisional ballot.)
· If records show you have moved, you can vote by signing an address confirmation.
· If you are in line at the polling place before the polls close, you can vote.
· You have the right to receive a demonstration of voting equipment before voting.
· If you are disabled or are over the age of 65, you have the right to an accessible polling place and help in voting.

If anyone challenges your right to vote :
· Talk to the Voting Rights attorney at your polling place.
· Ask for the name of the person who is denying you the right to vote and write it down.
· Ask to talk to a supervisor and lodge a complaint.

If for some reason the pollworkers don't have your name on the voter rolls, or your right to vote is challenged, don't give up. Ask for a provisional ballot--they're required under Federal law to give you one. When the registration glitch is sorted out later, your vote should be counted along with all the others.

Moveon.org has a handy, wallet-sized card you can print out and take to the polls with you that includes all the numbers and information you need if someone tries to stop you from exercising your right to vote. You can download it at:


If you witness individuals challenging your right to vote, intimidating voters, or interfering with the process, try to get their names. Write down exactly what happened, including the time of day, descriptions of the people involved, and any other details you can remember.

Then, report it. There are lots of organizations working to respond quickly to complaints of voter intimidation, suppression, and fraud, including:

Common Cause: Call 1-866-MYVOTE1. Common Cause has set up a hotline that you can call to report any problems you have voting. They'll document where problems are occurring, watch for wide-spread voter suppression, and provide real-time legal help to the hot spots.

1-866-OUR-VOTE. This hotline has been set up by a coalition of nonpartisan groups to deal with the most serious problems on election day. They have hundreds of lawyers standing by to immediately respond to the most egregious problems. 1-866-OUR-VOTE is the "911" of voter suppression hotlines. Please don't call unless your problem is serious enough that you have to talk to a lawyer immediately.

MoveOn PAC: Go to http://www.moveonpac.org/. On election day, their website will host a form where you can post your problem and get help.

Now let's all get out there and ROCK THE VOTE! (Yes, I know this is long, and I'm sorry, but I thought it was too important to hide behind a cut.)


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 1st, 2004 08:26 am (UTC)
Thanks for all the info Sus! You rock!
Nov. 1st, 2004 10:49 am (UTC)
Thanks! Hopefully no one will have any problems tomorrow, but I always figure it's best to be prepared so trouble doesn't take you off guard.
Nov. 1st, 2004 10:56 am (UTC)
One thing about provisional ballots, though. Make sure, if your right to vote is challenged due to you being in the WRONG PRECINCT, that your state counts your ballot! In VA, you can vote with a provisional ballot, but if you are in the wrong precinct, you vote will not be counted. Know where you're going beforehand!! Don't go to the wrong place!

Love your new color scheme!
Nov. 1st, 2004 12:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder about the provisional ballots, pookha. I know some states are already going to court to determine under what circumstances they'll admit provisional ballots and they're each different. Only vote provisionally as a last resort, and if you're absolutely certain you're in the correct precinct.

Love your new color scheme!

Thanks! I'm trying to keep things festive and decorate my LJ appropriately for the various holidays. Haven't figured out what I'm doing for Thanksgiving yet.
Nov. 1st, 2004 03:14 pm (UTC)
Fall colors? Like orange, maroon, and brown?

I should do a hokie colored one except that would take time and energy. LOL
Nov. 1st, 2004 05:01 pm (UTC)
In the words of those Chicagoans- vote early, vote often. Unless, of course, you're voting for Bush.
Nov. 1st, 2004 05:03 pm (UTC)
Amen, sister!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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