Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hispanic Caucus issues vote suppression alert

Posted By on Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 9:40 AM

A newsletter from the Third District Hispanic Caucus says a Springdale man who voted in 2008 is not showing up on voter rolls and that others registered this year are also not appearing in the voter registration system.

It has issued the following alert on voter rights, necessary to defeat the lapses — intentional or not — that have kept registered voters off lists. Vote suppression is real. Republicans are counting on laws they've passed to depress turnout of Democratic constituencies in swing states. Arkansas isn't a swing state at the presidential level, but suppression helps down the ballot here as well. Know your rights. A change of address, if challenged, doesn't disqualify you from voting, for example. (Something tells me Republican poll watchers will be looking a whole lot more closely at voters with certain defining characteristics than others.)

The alert:

Hispanic Caucus 3rd Dist

There are early reports of voter supression in AR

If they are doing it in a 'RED' state - imagine what they are doing in battleground states.

Got a call today regarding a gentleman who voted in 2008 and is not showing up in the rolls in Springdale or on 'voterview' site. There are also a number of people who we registered through our events - and whose forms were turned in as long ago as JUNE - that were not in the system.

We need to know what our rights are as voter and what we can do to protect ourselves. Below are some pointers that we should all know and share.

1. If you are not on the voting list — but know you are indeed registered, the polling place must contact the county clerk for verification. Once confirmed as an eligible voter by the county clerk — you are legally allowed to vote on a regular ballot. If the county clerk cannot confirm your registration, you can vote using a provisional ballot.

2. If your address does not match that on the precinct voter registration list you are still legally allowed to vote. You will need to fill out a voter registration form to update your information. After verifying your precinct — you may cast your ballot. If you are in the wrong precinct, you can receive a precinct transfer form from the poll workers and take it to your accurate precinct on a REGULAR ballot. If you decide to vote in the original precinct- you may do so on a Provisional ballot.

If you believe you have issues related to your address — we recommend you vote early at the county clerk’s office so you do not have to drive from one place to another on election day.

3. You have 5 minutes to mark your ballot and must be provided a "private location" (6ft buffer) to do so. When done, you must deposit it into the ballot box yourself and then immediately leave the polling location.

4. If you make a mistake on your ballot, have issues with a machine, report the issue prior to handing in the ballot or finalizing your electronic vote. You can receive a new paper ballot if you make a mistake - but must bring it to the attention of poll workers prior to inserting the ballot in the box. If your electronic receipt does not reflect your vote correctly - immediately notify poll workers.

5. You may bring someone with you to assist you if you are unable to mark your ballot for any reason. (That person can help upto 6 people)

6. If you are in line at the time of polls closing (7:30pm on election day) — you may still vote on a regular ballot. If voting is extended by a court order and you arrive at the polls after the regular closing hours, you will be allowed to vote on a provisional ballot.

7. Poll watchers

May only challenge a voter prior to them signing the voter list.
May only challenge on grounds that the voter is in the wrong precinct or that they voted already - in good faith (i.e. cannot ask for "papers")
May report irregularities witnessed to the election sheriff — but only discuss in detail if invited to do so
May make lists of people voting
MAY NOT be within 6ft of any voting machine or booth
MAY NOT address voters directly or in any way influence a voter within the polling site or within 100ft of its entrance
MAY NOT disrupt the orderly conduct of the election
If challenged as a voter — demand to know on what grounds. If not on the grounds stated above — you are still allowed to vote on a REGULAR BALLOT. Demand your ballot!

If a poll watcher interferes with your election process in any way. If they speak to you directly, come within 6ft of you while voting, or challenge your eligibility to vote for any reason other than the listed above — REPORT THE INCIDENT IMMEDIATELY. They must present an Authorization Form to the onsite elections officials. That form includes their name and the organization or candidate they represent- take their information from there. Take a picture if you can. Do not engage the poll watcher directly. Call 1-855-VOTE171 (868-3171).

Those who would intimidate and suppress your vote will count on you not knowing your rights. Stand up for yourself and REPORT THE ILLEGAL ACTIVITY!

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