Election protection volunteers serve a critical role to strengthen and safeguard our freedom to vote and inspire faith in our elections. SOLVE is home to some of the largest voter protection and assistance efforts in the country.
Twenty-nine states, including every Southern state, have passed nearly 100 laws restricting access to the ballot in the decade following the Shelby County v. Holder decision limiting the Voting Rights Act.
Poll monitors and election protection volunteers serve a critical role during elections. They help strengthen and safeguard our freedom to vote. They also empower others in the community by ensuring that their right to vote is protected.
More voters today are vulnerable to disenfranchisement because of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which left fewer states and jurisdictions with a history of discrimination subject to federal oversight of voting laws. With the loss of Section 4 coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act, states are too free to enact discriminatory voting laws, without first being reviewed and stopped by federal government review. Another major and yet under-discussed impact of Shelby County is the drastic reduction of federal election observers deployed during elections. Federal observers have historically played a critical role in ensuring that jurisdictions comply with the VRA and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments during the administration of an election. As discussed later, that provision allowed the Justice Department and federal courts to observe and disrupt discrimination that might otherwise go undetected on Election Day.
It is critical to keep a watchful eye on the local application of voting laws and report problems to civil rights organizations, particularly in jurisdictions with a history of voter disenfranchisement. There are a number of roles voting rights advocates can serve at the polls on Election Day, each of which serves an important role in protecting the rights of voters: (1) poll worker, (2) election observer, partisan or non-partisan, and (3) Election Protection volunteer. Each of these roles, which play an important role in protecting the rights of voters, is discussed below.
Election Protection Hotlines
SOLVE partners helped run North Carolina’s largest nonpartisan voter hotline: 888-OUR-VOTE (888-687-8683) since 2000. The hotline is a free resource for North Carolinians who have questions about registering to vote or casting a ballot and is answered year-round. The hotline is a coalition effort between Democracy NC, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and Self-Help Credit Union.
In addition to a successful nonpartisan Election Protection coalition working year-round in North Carolina to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count, similarly Southern states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia are also using a wide range of tools and activities to protect, advance and defend the right to vote.
Election Protection | 866OURVOTE
SCSJ: Election Protection and Voter Monitoring in the South (2018)