As far as public service announcements go on this blog, I rarely feature them. There are so many worthy causes, my blog would no longer be about its focus if I wrote about all the other topics I cared about.
Today, I make an exception.
Election protection is, unfortunately, a necessary aspect of voting because in 2008, U.S. voters are still faced with a number of impediments to casting their ballots for candidates:
-- long lines
-- lack of paper ballots at crowded precincts
-- incorrect voter rolls
-- unhelpful or ill-informed precinct staff
-- electronic voting machines which function incorrectly and/or flip votes
*** As of evening November 3rd, the group Election Protection reports that already 100,000 calls have come in to report problems with voting.
Some have also used deceptive tricks during this election season in an attempt to deter voters:
-- fliers which claim that one's voting precinct has moved to a new location, when it hasn't
-- pamphlets or phone calls that falsely claim, due to overcrowding at the polls, the Republicans vote on one day (the real election day) and the Democrats vote the following day (too late to have their votes recorded)
-- blatantly false and inaccurate "robo calls": recorded messages that spam landlines with lies and distortions about candidates
In an ideal democracy, everyone should be able to vote quickly and easily, on machines that work in polling places staffed by knowledgeable and helpful professionals. We should be able to leave the voting booth knowing that our vote was registered and will be counted, not worried that it may be hacked away or mysteriously lost or miscounted due to machine or human error — or because of someone's underhanded political agenda.
If you're in the United States and over the age of 18, then you have either voted before in an election or have a basic idea how to do so. Still, knowledge is power, so please take note of the following information; this election will have a historically high turnout, and you may be placed in the position of having to defend your right to vote.
1. At any time, please call toll free 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report voting problems you are having.
2. On Twitter, use "#votereport" to contact the Twitter Vote Report, who will in turn, contact the appropriate group about your specific problem.
These articles detail what voters may be up against both in early-voting states and on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4th:
° "Web Hands Voters Power" from The Baltimore Sun
° "Voters Receiving Misleading Robo Calls in Ohio" from CNNPolitics.com
° "Citizens, Media Use Social Media to Monitor Election" from PBS's MediaShift
° "'Tis the Season for Tricking Voters" from Yahoo! News and the Associated Press
° the "Voting Problems" site from The Huffington Post
° "Misleading Calls in Virginia Caused by Computer Glitch" from CNNPolitics.com
° "Video Your Vote" project from YouTube and PBS
If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer it or refer you to the right source.
No questions? Alright, then. Let's vote! Every vote counts — especially yours!