Welcome to the Poll Monitor Training and the Election Judge Education Forum for the 2012 Election. We appreciate your willingness to volunteer to help protect the vote in this important election year. Let me give you a little background on who we are and how this program works.
In addition to photo ID, there has been an increase in the number of laws that impose significant burdens on voter registration drives, leading some organizations to give up their voter registration drive efforts. One example was a law in Florida that led two of the leading voter registration drives – the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote – to withdraw from the state for a significant period of time. This is significant as black and latino voters are twice as likely as white voters to register through a voter registration drive. So if it is harder for voter registration drives to do their work, then there may be fewer people being offered the chance to register. Additional laws requiring proof of citizenship to vote or shortening early voting periods also have the effect of making it harder for people to vote – particularly those in traditionally disenfranchised groups, including minorities, seniors, young people, poor people and students.
Apart from actions by government, there are sometimes deceptive practices undertaken by third parties to confuse or mislead people about the time, place or manner of voting. You may have heard of some of these things, although I know I was pretty surprised when I learned these kinds of things still happen in the United States in the 21st century. Here are a few examples. There was a flyer distributed in Virginia in 2008 that said that due to expected high voter turnout and to avoid lines at the polls, anyone voting for a Republican candidate would be voting on Tuesday, and anyone voting for a Democratic candidate would vote on Wednesday. Just a note --- Election Day is ALWAYS Tuesday; it is never Wednesday. Another example from Colorado: calls were made to voters on the eve of the election telling them that their polling places had changed and that in order to vote, they would first have to contact their clerk and recorder. These calls were made to voters in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods. Fortunately, one of the voters receiving the call was the mother of the clerk and recorder in Pueblo. She immediately alerted him to the issue and he was able to contact the media and correct the information. But there is not doubt that some voters were confused and that some votes were not cast. A final example, and we saw this recently in Wisconsin in the recall election and we saw it previously in Maryland, calls were made telling people that if they were goingto vote for a particular candidate, voting was unnecessary – in Wisconsin it was unnecessary because they had already signed the recall election. In Maryland, it was unnecessary because the named candidate had already won. Just like election day is always Tuesday, it is equally true that it is ALWAYS necessary to vote. No one has WON an election until the polls close and the votes are counted.
Another form of intimidation and potential voter suppression is having a police presence at polling locations. Sometimes this is simply police cars parked outside, sometimes it is uniformed police officers inside the polls. The important thing is that in many communities, police are not a welcome sight. In addition, having police at the polls can signal to voters that there is something wrong or dangerous or improper going on at the polls. This can easily deter voters and create a significant misimpression. And usually the police presence at the polls is accompanied by threats that if you haven’t paid your parking tickets, or you are behind on child support or if your driver’s license has expired and you are still driving, you will be arrested or ticketed when you vote. This is absolutely not true, but it does work to scare people and to make them cautious or unwilling to risk going to the polls to vote.
Our Election Day program consists essentially 3 pieces. We have recruited many of you to serve as poll monitors. As such, you will be assigned to cover specific voting locations, provide voters with information about their rights. You will have palm cards to hand out to voters that are a list of voter’s rights. You will answer questions from voters based on those palm cards and refer all other questions to the hotlines. You are our eyes and ears at the polling place. You will stay in touch with the call center so that any problems you see can be addressed quickly and directly. There are some volunteers that have been recruited to be Election Judges. Those individuals applied to their counties, will be hired for Election Day and trained to work inside the polls and help to actually conduct the election. Those individuals, and there may be some here today, have been invited to participate in this training as an educational experience, but are trained by the counties with respect to their duties on Election Day.
As context for what we will talk about throughout this training, we have come up with a short but important list of what voting heroes do and what voting heroes don’t do. It’s important to understand the boundaries and limits of our poll monitoring.So what do we DO: First, we are non-partisan. We do not represent or give advise about any candidate or issue. If someone asks you who to vote for, or what you think about an issue, or how you voted or would recommend they vote, you must decline. The answer is: I’m here as a non-partisan volunteer. I do not give advice or recommend any candidate or issue. Second, send any questions that are not specifically covered on the palm cards to the hotline. If someone asks you what form of ID is acceptable, you can answer that – it is on the palm cards. If someone asks whether they are at the right place to vote, that is not on the palm cards. That voter should be sent to the hotline. And third, our role is to do what we can to make voting a positive experience for voters. Be polite, greet voters as they come and go from the polls, answer questions (or refer them to the hotline for answers), give them palm cards, and be a resource to them.
And then there are some things we don’t do. First, do not engage in electioneering. Electioneering means displaying support for or encouraging support of any particular party or issue within 100 feet of the polling place. Even though you will be outside of the 100 foot area, we still do not engage in electioneering as it is really the opposite of being non-partisan, which is something I just said we do. Electioneering includes things like wearing buttons, shirts, hats or other items that are in support or opposition to a party, candidate or issue. Second, do not talk to the media. If anyone from the television, radio, print or online media approaches you, refer them to the hotline. We will have communications people prepared to deal with the media. Third, do not challenge voters. You can offer them information and the palm cards, you can ask them to answer our surveys, but do not put pressure on them to participate in any way. And finally, do not engage in ANY form of confrontation with anyone. If someone tries to pick a fight with you, or questions why you are at your location, you simply say, “I am a non-partisan volunteer with Common Cause Election Protection. I am not here on behalf of any candidate or issue.” If they want to continue the conversation or to further question your presence, refer them to the hotline.
The strategy for assigning poll monitors is to identify voting locations that have had problems in the past, locations with a high percentage of traditionally disenfranchised voters, and locations where there is likely to be a high percentage of new first time voters. We will then send a team of 2 volunteers to these identified locations, and in some cases, depending upon your availability and flexibility, may assign a couple of locations to each team, so that you will go from one site to the next and in that way, we can cover more locations. We are going to describe for you and review the “day of” activities, including how you will find out where to go, when to be there, what to bring, what you will do when you get there and all the other details at the end of this session. If you have any questions or concerns about those logistics, we can address them at that point.
So let’s move on to some of the important laws that govern our elections so that you will have some context for your work at the polls on Election Day.
When people come to vote in Connecticut, they need to bring a form of ID. It is really important to note that Colorado DOES NOT have a photo ID law. That is, some of the acceptable forms of ID for voting do include a photo, but there are also some forms of ID for voting that do not require a photo.The acceptable forms of ID will be listed on the palm cards that you will have to distribute to voters at the polls, and it is something that voters maybe confused about, so you may get some questions. There has been a lot of press over the course of the year about photo ID. It was something that is been proposed in the Connecticut Legislature frequently, and defeated in committee, and it is something that has been in the news from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Texas and other states. So it is possible that voters will be concerned about whether they have the correct ID.
We talked about voter ID requirements and the complicated issue of what happens when someone has moved and not updated their registration. In some instances, the solution to ID problems and moves is that a voter will be given a provisional ballot. Sometimes provisional ballots are confusing and people think they don’t really count, so we want to give you some basic information about provisional ballots. The purpose of a provisional ballot is to protect the right of individuals to vote under any circumstance and they may be cast or if the voter claims to be registered by cannot be found on the voter records. They are also used if a voter has requested a mail-in ballot, but decides on Election Day to vote in person instead. These voters will be given provisional ballots. Note that if a voter gives up their mail-in ballot at Early Vote, they will be given a regular ballot, not a provisional ballot. On Election Day however, they will get a provisional ballot.
Now that we have reviewed a lot of the rules about how you register and what kind of ID you need and the various kinds of ballots and ways of voting there are in Colorado, there are still a number of additional issues that could arise that would make it hard or impossible for registered voters to cast their votes this election season. Two issues of particular note are challenges that might be made at the polls, and polling places that might not be accessible for people with disabilities. In both instances, there is a role for you as a Poll Monitor.
One issue of particular concern this election is the possibility that voters will be challenged at the polls. A group called True the Vote has pledged to make 1 million challenges nationwide during this election.. We don’t know for sure that challenges will be made, or where they will be made, or against whom they will be made. But given the pledge that True the Vote has made we think it is important for you to be aware of the possibility of challenges so that you will be able to alert the Call Center if you learn that this is occurring at your assigned polling location.It is legal in Colorado to challenge a person’s right to vote. Challenges can only be made based on a person’s age, citizenship or residency. The only people who can make a challenge are Election Judges, Poll Watchers (those are partisan people who are permitted inside the polls on behalf of candidates or issues), or another voter in the precinct of the challenged voter. All challenges must be in writing and must specify a basis for the challenge. No challenges are permitted based on disability or guardianship.
Your role with respect to challenges is to report anything you learn about challenges that are being made to the Call Center immediately. When voters are leaving, if they are willing to talk with you, and if they were challenged or observed other voters being challenged, you should complete an Election Day Problem Report form which we will give you and collect the information the voter is willing to share. Then you should contact the Election Protection line. Remember: We are not at the polls to force people to talk to us or to engage in any confrontation with voters. So you should collect the information only if the voter is willing to speak to you voluntarily.
The fundamental right to vote is held by all Americans, including those with disabilities. Under the Help America Vote Act, the right to vote and all polling places must be accessible to voters with disabilities.
With respect to felons, a person who is serving time or who is on parole for a felony is not permitted to vote in Colorado. However, once a person has served their sentence, including any parole, that person can vote. They will have to re-register; their name will not automatically be restored to the voting rolls.
This is another activity that, if you observe it happening, you should note it and should contact the Call Center to report it. No electioneering can occur within 100 feet of a building in which a polling place is located. As mentioned earlier, electioneering is any display for or against a candidate or issue. We know that you, as Poll Monitors, will not be engaging in electioneering. If you see anyone else doing it, however, you should contact the Call Center. Do not approach the person who is electioneering or get into an exchange with them. Just contact the Call Center.
REMEMBER: You are non-partisan. Do not represent or give advise about any candidate or issue. If someone asks you who to vote for, or what you think about an issue, or how you voted or would recommend they vote, you must decline. The answer is: I’m here as a non-partisan volunteer. I do not give advice or recommend any candidate or issue. Send any questions that are not specifically covered on the palm cards to the hotline. If someone asks you what form of ID is acceptable, you can answer that – it is on the palm card. If someone asks whether they are at the right place to vote, that is not on the palm card. That voter should be sent to the hotline. Your role is to do what you can to make voting a positive experience for voters. Be polite, greet people as they come and go from the polls, answer questions (or refer them to the hotline for answers), give them palm cards, and be a resource to them.
And then there are some things we don’t do. First, do not engage in electioneering. Electioneering means displaying support for or encouraging support of any particular party or issue within 100 feet of the polling place. Even though you will be outside of the 100 foot area, we still do not engage in electioneering as it is really the opposite of being non-partisan, which is something I just said we do. Electioneering includes things like wearing buttons, shirts, hats or other items that are in support or opposition to a party, candidate or issue. Second, do not talk to the media. If anyone from the television, radio, print or online media approaches you, refer them to the hotline. We will have communications people prepared to deal with the media. Third, do not challenge voters. You can offer them information and the palm cards, you can ask them to answer our surveys, but do not put pressure on them to participate in any way. And finally, do not engage in ANY form of confrontation with anyone. If someone tries to pick a fight with you, or questions why you are at your location, you simply say, “I am a non-partisan volunteer with Just Vote Colorado Election Protection. I am not here on behalf of any candidate or issue.” If they want to continue the conversation or to further question your presence, refer them to the hotline.
Ct Election Protection Training
CONNECTICUT VOTES! ELECTION PROTECTION VOLUNTEER TRAININGOctober - November 2012
Goal is to ensure Connecticut voters have allnecessary information to vote and to have theirvote be counted – Provide voters with necessary non-partisan information on voting – Quickly identify trouble spots and work to correct them
Need for Voting Heroes• We are seeing increased voter suppression efforts and as a result:• new laws curbing access to voting• third party efforts to deceive, mislead, intimidate and challenge voters.
Other Voter Suppression• Other government efforts to restrict access to voting include – Limiting Voter Registration Drives – Requiring Proof of Citizenship – Shortening Early Voting Periods
Deceptive Practices• Deceptive practices to intimidate or to mislead voters about their right to vote and the time and place of voting. – A deceptive flyer was distributed stating that due to expected high voter turnout anyone voting Republican to vote on Tuesday and anyone voting Democratic to vote on Wednesday. (Virginia 2008) – Calls made on eve of the election telling people their voting locations had changed and they needed to check on where to vote (Colorado, 2008) – Calls telling voters that the election is already decided and so they don’t need to go to the polls to vote (Maryland, 2010)
Intimidation• Police presence at the polls is intimidating and is frequently deployed in minority communities.
Connecticut’s Election Protection Program• Poll Monitors: – Goal is to provide voters information about their rights, including handing out palm cards – Answer voters’ questions – Direct them to the hotline – Be our ‘eyes and ears’ to observe polling place activity
Voting Heroes: What We Do• We are non-partisan. We do not represent or give advice on candidates or issues on the ballot.• We send any questions to the hotline if they are not specifically covered on the palm card.• We do what we can to ensure that voters have a positive experience at the polls.
Voting Heroes: What We Don’t Do• Do not engage in electioneering.• Do not talk to the media. Any media inquiries should be referred to the Call Center.• Do not challenge voters in any way. No pressure to do our surveys, talk to us, take our flyers.• Do not engage in ANY form of confrontation, verbal or physical with anyone.
Strategy for Poll Monitors• Teams of 2 will be assigned to volunteer at 1 or more polling places within a geographic area.• Voting locations are chosen based on the following factors: – History of problems – High percentage of traditionally disenfranchised voters and/or high percentage of likely new voters• We will be reviewing the “day of” activities and what to do at the polling locations at the end of this presentation.
Voter Identification Requirements• In Connecticut, voters must present a valid form of identification in order to cast a ballot.• IMPORTANT: THERE IS NO PHOTO ID REQUIREMENT in Connecticut.
Acceptable Forms of ID for Voters who have cast ballots in previouselection OR who registered using a valid driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security number (any ONE of the following): • Valid Connecticut Drivers License • Social security card • Any pre-printed form of identification which shows your name and address • Any pre-printed form of identification which shows your name and signature • Any pre-printed form of identification which shows your name and photograph • If you do not have the above identification you may sign a statement on Form ED-681 (Signature of Elector who did not provide ID) testifying to your identity
First time voters who registered after 2003 and did not provideeither a drivers license number or the last 4 digits of their social security number may be asked for ONE of the following forms of additional identification:• A copy of a current and valid photo identification with your name and address• A copy of your current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck• A government document that shows your name and address• A valid Connecticut motor vehicle operators license number• The last four digits of your Social Security number
Provisional Ballots• The purpose of a provisional ballot is to protect the right of individuals to vote under any circumstance.• Provisional ballots may be cast by eligible voters in a Federal Election for many different reasons, including: – Voter claims to be properly registered but their qualification to vote cannot be immediately established – The voter is at the wrong precinct, – The voter does not have or doesn’t want to present identification, or – The voter has requested a mail-in ballot but has not cast it. Voters may request a provisional ballot from an election official. Provisional Ballots offer voting for candidates running for Federal offices only.
Barriers to Voting• Challenges to Voters at polling places• Polling places that are not accessible for people with disabilities
Challengers at the Polls• Any person’s right to vote may be challenged, based on their age, citizenship or residence at a polling place on Election Day.• This challenge may be brought by only a challenger appointed by the Registrars of Voters.• The challenge must be in writing and specify a basis for the challenge.• No challenge based on disability or guardianship is allowed.
What to do About Challenges• If you become aware that voters are being challenged inside the polls, contact the Election Protection number immediately.• If voters are willing to talk with you, collect any information you can about their experience in being challenged or in observing voters being challenged
Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities• The Help America Vote Act requires that the right to vote and all polling places be accessible to voters with disabilities. Accessible entry to polls, voting by phone, curbside voting, and assisted voting are required to be available at all polling places.
Additional Issues• Minority Language Issues• Felon Voting Rights• Electioneering
Felon Voting RightsFelons:• A person who is serving time or who is on parole for a felony is not permitted to vote in an election.• However, a person who has served their sentence, including parole, CAN vote.• Former felons must register to vote again upon completion of their sentence and parole. They do NOT need to provide documentation, but simply fill out a new voter registration form. They must adhere to regular voter registration deadlines.
Campaigning at the Polls• There is no campaigning permitted within seventy five feet of the polling place.• Campaigning includes displaying support for or encouraging support of any particular party within this seventy five foot perimeter around a polling place. That means that T-shirts, stickers or signs supporting a candidate or party must be covered up or put away when approaching the polling site.
Election Day• Arrive at your scheduled time with voter protection materials (palm card and/or flyers).• There should be two Voting Heroes at each place. Find each other and find a visible place to stand. Wear your T shirt!• Start Greeting Voters.• If moving between several assigned locations, divide your time among the locations.
Greeting Voters• Be friendly and smile• Remain 75 feet away from the building entrance• Greet voters on the way in and ask if they have any questions• Greet voters on the way out, thank them for voting and ask if they had any problems voting• Hand out palm cards to anyone who wants them, but don’t force anyone to take one• Make sure voters know that the Election Protection hotline is 1-866-733-2463
Keep An Eye Out For….• People challenging voters• Electioneering inside 75 feet• Accessibility issues (language and/or disability)• Police presence
Voting Heroes: What We Do• You are non-partisan. Do not represent or give advice on candidates or issues on the ballot.• Send any questions to the hotline if they are not specifically covered on the palm card.• Do what you can to ensure that voters have a positive experience at the polls.
Voting Heroes: What We Don’t Do• Do not engage in electioneering.• Do not talk to the media. Any media inquiries should be referred to the hotline.• Do not challenge voters in any way. No pressure to do our surveys, talk to us, take our flyers.• Do not engage in ANY form of confrontation, verbal or physical with anyone.
THANK YOU FORVOLUNTEERINGWITHCOMMON CAUSE INCONNECTICUT!!