National syndicated radio host, Tom Joyner, appeared before the House Administration Committee on Wednesday, testifyingon continuing voting problems as documented by his 1-866-MY-VOTE-1 hotline during the primary season.
The Washington Post described the hotline as “the center of an expansive effort – run largely by African Americans independent of political parties and election officials – to make sure every vote is counted in this year’s elections.” According to The Post, more than 1,000 lawyers have volunteered to staff polling places and call centers, and approximately 70,000 voters have reported problems, “including extraordinarily long waits, a shortage of ballots, difficulties finding polling locations and being dropped from registration rolls.”
Joining Joyner on the Hill yesterday were representatives of the NAACP National Voter Fund, Voter Action and VoterLink Data Systems. They testified on the need for long-term reform – uniform election standards rather than the current hodgepodge of differing rules within thousands of jurisdictions. But with November just around the corner and record turnout expected, advocates recognized the urgency for action now as well. They pointed to the need for proper allocation of reliable voting machinesso that votes aren’t lost to long lines and flawed technologies. Poll workers have to be trained on voters’ rights and the voting systems that will be used. And we need better protection of eligible voters so that valid ballots are counted and people aren’t turned away from the polls.
The Democratic National Committee isn’t waiting until November to address these problems either. As part of its Voting Rights Institute and 50-State Strategy, its field staff has conducted approximately 1200 interviews with local elections officials in order to investigate exactly how elections will be administered come November.