Election Protection Saves Votes

By Barbara Altman

On November 8, Tenth Dems deployed more than 100 lawyers to polling places across the 10th District to help ensure that Election Day went smoothly and that all entitled to vote were permitted to do so.  Each team member received a detailed manual and training that highlighted the issues most likely to arise and then was assigned precincts to visit on Election Day.  Entering polling places as poll watchers, these lawyers served the critical function of monitoring the activity at targeted locations to make sure that lines were moving smoothly, rules against electioneering were being enforced, and voters were not given provisional ballots when they were entitled to vote a regular ballot, among other things.

epcentral3Tenth Dems lead election protection lawyers, including those who drafted the manual and facilitated the training, spent Election Day in law offices made available to serve as election protection headquarters.  From there, they supported the team in the field by answering questions and, when appropriate, conveying concerns to the Cook and Lake County Clerks’ offices.  The headquarters group also redeployed lawyers to trouble spots as they became aware of the need.  An incident log prepared in in election protection headquarters documents how critical these efforts were to the success of Democratic candidates across the 10th District.  Just as the experience of the election protection team in 2014 helped leaders target polling places for 2016, the 2016 log will be an important tool for organizing the election protection effort in 2018.

The headquarters team committee also staffed a Voter Assistance Hotline, directly speaking to voters who wanted to know where to go to vote, whether they were registered, and what documentation they needed to same-day register and vote, among other things.

Tenth Dems has already received requests for help replicating this election protection effort in other districts and states.

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