866-OUR-VOTE: A Direct Response to Trump’s So-Called “Commission on Election Integrity”

Amid rising numbers of partisan concerns of voter fraud, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is redoubling its efforts to protect the rights of all voters. Through an expansion of the Election Protection hotline (866-OUR-VOTE) — a national nonpartisan voter assistance hotline — we are providing a resource for concerned individuals and communities to report voter intimidation, suppression, and discrimination stemming from President Trump’s so-called “Commission on Election Integrity.”

In no uncertain terms, the Lawyers’ Committee condemns the launch of this problematic commission which will do nothing to expand the franchise. In appointing Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as its vice-chair, President Trump has stacked the commission with a known vote-suppressor and anti-immigrant crusader who will use government resources to send a chilling message to minority voters through his work on this commission.

The Lawyers’ Committee was established at the request of President Kennedy to combat racial discrimination and ensure equal justice under law for all, yet Secretary Kobach has dismissed us as “a left-wing organization.” Protecting the right to vote and stamping our discrimination is not “left wing.” It is about bending the arc toward justice, and we will continue to do so in the face of this problematic commission.

Through our Election Protection 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, we are leading a national effort to directly respond to the Trump administration’s launch of this commission. Trained volunteers respond to voting questions and concerns from voters throughout the year, but given the current circumstances, we are expanding the hours of 866-OUR-VOTE and asking individuals who have questions about the voting process, or who wish to share stories of past or present barriers they have encountered when trying to vote, to contact the hotline for assistance.

Four years after the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision gutted core protections in the Voting Rights Act, multiple states, including Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, have imposed severe restrictions on the right to vote. In 2016, the first presidential election year after the Shelby County decision, Election Protection received over 118,000 calls from voters and would-be voters from around the country.

The 866-OUR-VOTE hotline will be live Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT to assist any voter who experiences intimidation or needs information to understand their rights. We highly encourage members of the public to contact the hotline to report complaints or suspicious activity regarding the Commission. We will not stand idly while the current administration takes massive steps towards preventing eligible voters from having equal access to the ballot. If we truly want to strengthen our democracy, we have to do the necessary work to ensure that everyone who wants to participate can. And that starts by knowing your rights.

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