by The Native American Rights Fund
Obstacles at Every Turn – Native Vote in a World of Coronavirus (ABA, October 1, 2020): "In 2017 and 2018, the Native American Voting Rights Coalition held hearings throughout Indian Country documenting barriers to the ballot box for Native Americans. In June 2020, the Native American Rights Fund issued a detailed report highlighting the obstacles faced by Native Americans in the voting process from registering to vote, to casting a ballot, to having that vote counted. This panel discusses the recent report, and the additional barriers and considerations as a result of the coronavirus."
Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) has created fact sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive.
The Election Integrity Partnership: "a coalition of research entities focused on supporting real-time information exchange between the research community, election officials, government agencies, civil society organizations, and social media platforms. Our objective is to detect and mitigate the impact of attempts to prevent or deter people from voting or to delegitimize election results."
Lexis Voting Rights Resource Kit: "This resource kit provides resources on voting rights in the U.S., with links to advocacy organizations that can help you to register, vote by mail, vote early, or even volunteer with an organization that helps voters exercise their rights. In addition, this resource kit provides links to primary law, secondary sources, and news articles in Lexis to help you understand the legal landscape of voting rights protections."
Defend Our Elections: "The United States’ voting systems are vulnerable, both to cyberattacks and to malfunction caused by aging technology. The Brennan Center's solution: a comprehensive plan to upgrade technology and protect election integrity."
Swarthmore's Interactive Map - American Elections 2020, Changes to Voting Laws Since 2004: The map covers the period following the 2002 Help America Vote Act and most state efforts to tighten access to the ballot box following the razor-thin margin of victory in the election of 2000. The information for this map was provided by students in Professor Nackenoff’s Fall 2020 American Elections class at Swarthmore College (POLS 22). Each student was responsible for researching changes in election laws affecting registration, early voting, absentee voting, mail-in voting, voter ID, and felon disenfranchisement from 2004 forward.
ACCESS & SAFETY
Due to the ongoing and rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis, voters should take the time to confirm they are registered to vote. In order to avoid issues demonstrated in Wisconsin's primary election, voters should request absentee ballots as soon as possible to ensure they can maintain personal safety while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus further. The more lead time local governments have to process these requests, the more likely the request will be processed in time for the election.
Resources that allow you to check your status and sign up as needed are described below. Depending on what you need, the process can take 2 - 10 minutes.
STAY UP TO DATE
Under the direction of Prof. Neptune, Director of Externships and Public Interest Programming, Howard University School of Law has "collaborated with students from Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law to create the Law Students Protect the Vote volunteer initiative. We are encouraging students from other area law schools to volunteer and ensure that everyone can exercise their right to vote. Additionally, every member of the HUSL community is invited to volunteer. If you are interested, here are three ways you can participate:
Election Protection National Voter Hotline
The national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition works year-round to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count. They need legal volunteers to remotely staff the national voter hotline—thousands of shifts are available from now through Election Day! Volunteers assist voters experiencing problems. Training and support are provided and volunteers will need a computer and internet service. Sign up here.
Nonpartisan volunteer poll monitors help voters navigate the voting process and cast their votes without obstruction, confusion, or intimidation. Volunteers may be connecting voters with trained legal professionals and resources to safely and securely cast their ballots. Volunteers may also observe polling places (from your vehicle or with proper personal safety equipment), monitor social media for disinformation, or educate voters on their rights. Please note that volunteering will differ from state to state. Sign up here.
America is facing a record shortage of poll workers this year due to the coronavirus and the fact that most poll workers are typically over the age of sixty. Most jurisdictions task election workers with setting up and preparing the polling location, welcoming voters, verifying voter registrations, and issuing ballots. Poll workers also help voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures. Poll workers are critical to ensuring that we have a safe, fair election. Sign up here (state-by-state information) or here.
Common Cause Election Protection
Common Cause has provided a way to combat voter social media misinformation and disinformation as well as provide assistance to voters. Before you begin, sign their volunteer agreement here and then sign up for an in-depth training session.
We the Action
We the Action is sponsoring the Fair Fight Action: Declaration Capturing/Writing anti-voter suppression project. In this remote project, volunteers will collect stories and draft declarations when voters experience issues at the polls and with absentee voting. Capturing declarations help disenfranchised voters feel like their voices are being heard, reveal voter suppression attempts by state and local governments, and gather crucial evidence in election-related civil rights legislation. Volunteers will be provided with training and supervision.
Be sure to follow Law Students Protect the Vote on Instagram @lawstudentsprotecthevote and Twitter @Law_Vote for updates and information.
Students’ volunteer hours will count towards the Pro Bono Pledge. See the attached flyer for more details!"
Voters who are concerned they may not meet the absentee ballot requirements should reach out to the ACLU for guidance and support. The current "Virginia witness requirement" has already been flagged by the ACLU as it create additional burdens on individuals who may be self-isolating alone. UPDATE: FEDERAL COURT APPROVES PARTIAL SETTLEMENT IN ACLU VOTING LAWSUIT CHALLENGING VIRGINIA’S WITNESS REQUIREMENT DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC (May 5, 2020)
Want to learn more about voting in each state? Visit our VOTE: Request a Ballot (State by State Guide), compiled for Howard University students and faculty as well as interested members of the public to spread the word on ballot initiatives in the 2020 general election and introduce to resources on voting.