FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2010
CONTACT: Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director, 615-320-7142
NASHVILLE – In an effort to ensure the fundamental right to vote is preserved for all Tennesseans during early voting and on Election Day, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) has produced a Voter Empowerment Card and established an Election Day hotline to help voters who encounter problems at the polls.
“Voting is the cornerstone of democracy,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director. “ACLU-TN’s goal is to ensure that every eligible voter is able to cast a vote and have it counted.”
The Voter Empowerment Cards, available in English and Spanish, cover topics such as Election Day logistics, how to avoid common problems that arise on Election Day, and what to do if you experience issues at the polls. The pocket-sized, accordion-fold cards answer basic, practical voting questions that could arise at polling places and will ensure that voters know their rights.
In addition, ACLU-TN is staffing a voting rights hotline for voters to call if they encounter problems at the polls. During early voting, voters experiencing problems should call (615) 320-7142. On November 2, the toll-free hotline number is (877) 615-1999. These hotlines allow voters to obtain assistance if they feel they have been unfairly denied the right to vote and to report voting problems.
“After experiences in past elections, we are concerned that some voters might be turned away from the polls because they are not fully aware of their rights. Voters carrying the ACLU-TN Empowerment Card will know their rights and be able to assert them on Election Day,” Weinberg said.
“Tennessee voters can overcome most obstacles by glancing at their Empowerment Card or by finding a volunteer to help them outside many polling places. If more assistance is needed, a phone call to the ACLU will help them determine if their rights are indeed being violated and what recourse they have,” Weinberg continued.
ACLU is particularly concerned about the following problems voters may face at the polls:
- Voters who need special assistance being prevented from bringing someone to help them into the voting booth;
- Ballot security initiatives designed to suppress minority voting;
- Voters turned away without being offered a provisional ballot;
- Too few machines in polling places which will lengthen lines and discourage eligible voters;
- Poll-watching activities that go beyond mere observation and become harassment;
- Moving polling places on short notice or without sufficient warning; and
- Disinformation campaigns.
Copies of the Voter Empowerment Cards are free and can be ordered at https://www.aclu-tn.org/drupal6/index.php?q=node/3 or by calling (615) 320-7142. The card is also available on the ACLU-TN website here. Bulk orders may incur a small fee for postage.
The early voting ACLU-TN hotline number is 615-320-7142. The November 2 toll-free hotline is (877) 615-1999.