National

Election-Protection Group Readies for 2018 Midterms

With the midterm election season now underway, the Election Protection Coalition is activating its national network of lawyers and volunteers to ensure that eligible voters are able to cast ballots during the critical 2018 elections.

They cite the Trump administration waging attacks on access to the polls, such as the Department of Homeland Security reauthorization bill to send Secret Service agents to polling sites across the country.

“Now more than ever, nonpartisan voter protection programs remain critical to ensuring access to democracy,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “At a moment when we see states seeking to adopt restrictive photo id laws, burdensome proof of citizenship requirements and other policies that would burden the rights of voters, we know that vigilance will be required to ensure that all voters are able to have their voices heard in the 2018 midterm election cycle.

“Through Election Protection, we provide voters access to the information they need to cast a successful ballot and a vehicle to which they can report problems that may be unfolding on the ground,” Clarke said.

Christine Chen, executive director of the Asian Pacific Islander American Vote, said voting gives immigrants and people of color the ability to keep their elected officials accountable and transform their lives.

“We must work together to remove language barriers so we can have an equal voice at the ballot box in the 2018 midterm elections,” she said.

In the wake of youth-led movements for justice, Carolyn DeWitt, president of Rock the Vote, said her organization is seeing a surge in soon-to-be first-time voters claiming their right to vote.

“However, more work must be done to ensure all eligible voters can exercise their right to vote, particularly young people and young people of color who are disproportionately affected by discriminatory laws,” DeWitt said. “Up to 18 percent of voters ages 18-24 don’t have a photo identification with their current address — that’s over 5.5 million young people, many of whom are away at college, that can not exercise their freedom to vote.”

Election Protection, the nation’s largest and oldest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, said it will continue to assist voters throughout the 2018 election cycle, including this week during the Illinois primary election.

“If recent special elections are any indication we can anticipate a huge turnout in November and the work of our volunteers in the field will be key to make sure those elections run smoothly,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “Our election protection volunteers are the direct link to voters on election day, helping them by troubleshooting problems when they occur at polling places.

“Common Cause continues to recruit and train volunteers while working year-round with partners and election administrators to ensure voters are able to make their voices heard on Election Day,” she said.

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Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s millennial publication. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, she attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. A proud southern girl, her lineage can be traced to the Gullah people inhabiting the low-country of South Carolina. The history of the Gullah people and the Geechee Dialect can be found on the top floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In her spare time she enjoys watching either college football or the Food Channel and experimenting with make-up. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. E-mail: Swright@washingtoninformer.com Social Media Handles: Twitter: @dreamersexpress, Instagram: @Sarafinasaid, Snapchat: @Sarafinasaid

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