NEWARK, N.J. -- The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey announced their joint Voter Protection hotline today for citizens who encounter difficulties exercising their right to vote in the November 7 general election. Anyone experiencing difficulty voting can call the league's VOTEline, 1-800-792-VOTE (8683), to receive immediate assistance with their voting problem.
"New Jersey voters deserve to have a fair and open process for casting their votes," said Anne Barron, Director of the ACLU-NJ Voting Rights for All Project. "Ensuring fundamental fairness in the voting process is essential to our democracy."
The ACLU-NJ and the League of Women Voter are working together to expand the resources available through the league's VOTEline, which receives thousands of calls each year from New Jerseyans seeking information about voting, elections and the political process. For the November 7 general election, the VOTEline will be available not just for questions about voting and elections but also will have trained volunteers available to assist with election-day voting problems. Volunteer lawyers also will stand ready to help voters who want to challenge denials of their voting rights in front of an election judge.
The ACLU-NJ participated in election protection efforts in both the 2004 and 2005 general elections with a number of other state and national voting rights groups. Complaints ranged from long-time voters whose names were missing from the poll books to improper denials of voter registration to people with prior convictions. In addition, recently enacted changes in the absentee ballot and provisional ballot procedures may cause confusion at the polls this year.
Organizers of previous election protection efforts collected and analyzed the complaints and submitted the results with recommendations for improvement to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Numerous voting problems were documented, including incomplete voter rolls, denial of language assistance, lack of sufficient provisional and emergency ballots and machine problems. The ACLU-NJ and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey will provide a similar report and recommendations for state election officials based on an analysis of the calls received during the 2006 elections.