Oct. 20th, 2016

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You know what the reason for ‘partial-birth abortions’ was, Mr. Trump? So that mothers who were losing wanted pregnancies could hold their babies before they’re buried.
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As you may already know, Donald Trump is enlisting poll watchers to monitor the Nov. 8th election. He has ordered them to look out for suspicious looking voters and ensure people aren’t voting over and over. Let me make this clear: many people, specifically Black and brown voters, are going to be singled out. People are going to be targeted on discriminatory grounds. Historically poll watchers have targeted people of color and it’s going to be no different this year, likely even worse.

In the past poll watchers have worked to intimidate voters, outright lie to them, and interfering with the process enough to cause chaos and discourage people from remaining in long lines. Poll watchers are permitted to challenge citizens in nearly every state and each state varies in terms of how much power they get. Some states require *very* little justification for challenging a voter, some require specific grounds, while others just let anyone be challenged based off of “suspicion.” If you are challenged immediately ask on what grounds, how they are backing those claims up, and what your state’s procedures regarding voter challenges.

So what happens if you are being challenged at the polls? Some states will ask you questions, have you sign an affidavit, force you to provide multiple forms of identification proving who you are and/or your current address, find another voter who can vouch for your identity, fill out a provisional ballot that will be verified later, or a mixture of these. Note: there is no assurance that your provisional ballot will be counted. Do not accept one of these without a fight, insist on a real ballot.

If you are being unfairly targeted there will also be nonpartisan poll watchers from civil rights committees there to help. They are there to help voters who are encountering problems and will have phone hotlines available as well. Here is their website with the phone numbers you can call, multiple language options available. These poll challenges are often done to disrupt the voting process more than anything, to discourage you from casting a vote by wasting your time. Know your rights and know how you can prepare yourself if this happens.

Finally, if you want to avoid this hassle all together you still have time to sign up for a mail-in ballot. All state’s deadlines are soon (the last couple days of Oct. or the first couple days of Nov.) so sign up ASAP. I’d also suggest clicking here which helps you find out more information about your state’s voting requirements, how to vote, and where to vote near you. Just use the drop down menu and find your state for more information. And even if you are registered to vote I would recommend clicking on the link under “Check if you’re registered to vote.” There were a lot of problems regarding that matter in my state so it’s good to check. 



November 2016

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