Midterms: Dynamic Smartphone app To Again Play Major Role In Election's Integrity

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Barbara Arnwine

Dynamic smartphone app remains a crucial tool to educate and empower voters in 2014

The Election Protection (EP) and ya es hora smartphone apps have been updated and improved for the 2014 elections to reflect voters’ increasingly digital lifestyles.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, New Organizing Institute, Rock the Vote and Verified Voting Foundation first introduced this pivotal app in 2012 to educate and empower voters across the country.The app is available in English (Election Protection) and Spanish (ya es hora) to provide valuable information to voters as they prepare for the 2014 elections. 

The app remains a relevant and valuable voting tool not only for voters, but individuals and organizations helping protect the right to vote. The app will be especially important in 2014 as this is the first general election since the Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which stripped many communities of a key federal protection to halt the implementation of discriminatory voting changes.

As the electorate continues to rely on and use technology in order to engage in the electoral process, the app meets voters where they are—on their smartphones.  The app allows them to register to vote, understand and exercise their voting rights and share their voting experiences or concerns.  In 2012, the Election Protection app also proved to be a tool for civic engagement and voter protection groups to help voters verify their voter registration status when they did not appear on voter registration rolls and to locate polling places.

“Just recently, Ohio voters lost early voting days, and in Wisconsin the reinstated voter ID law places obstacles between eligible voters and the ballot box,” said Barbara Arnwine, Lawyers’ Committee President & Executive Director. “We are excited to once again be a partner because it is clear that the app remains a necessary and essential tool to provide voters with all the information they need to vote and empower them to help others in their community.”

“We are excited about the Election Protection smartphone app and its ability to meet young voters where they are – online,” said Ashley Spillane, Rock the Vote President. “Research shows that now more than 60 percent of young people are wirelessly connected away from home and work.  The EP app will help to mobilize, energize and educate an important voting block – the 86 million eligible Millennial voters in the U.S. today.”“This app is an excellent use of technology, getting information in the hands of voters where they are and when they need it,” added Pamela Smith, Verified Voting President. “The app allows voters to find out what kind of voting system they will see when they get there too so the whole process is more familiar."

EP’s app empowers voters to: Confirm their registration status; If they are not registered to vote, fill out a voter registration form; Find their polling place; Verify the type of machine they will use; Access FAQs and key voting information like voter ID requirements for their state; and Email or call Election Protection or ya es hora to report a problem or ask a question.

The EP smartphone app gives eligible voters power and knowledge in the palm of their hand to help reduce confusion about their voting rights. To access this free application, visit www.866ourvote.org or EPAPP to 90975.

“Our democracy thrives when all its citizens are able to participate fully in the nation’s political system,” said Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director.  “We need to be promoting policies that make voting and registering to vote more accessible, not less accessible, to the nation’s second largest population group and all qualified voters.  We are proud to partner on this app and encourage Latinos and others to utilize this tool to become better informed about their rights as voters.”

Tiana Epps-Johnson, election administration Director at the New Organizing Institute also added: “We’ve made it a priority to provide voters and organizers with the information they need to participate in our democracy. This app provides all the critical voting information that people will need to cast a ballot this November.”

Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through its 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline (1-866-687-8683, smartphone application and other resources, and dedicated team of legal experts and trained volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting, offering live assistance.

The coalition has more than 100 partners – including the NAACP, National Bar Association, Native Vote, Asian-American Justice Center, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, New Organizing Institute, Rock the Vote, Verified Voting Foundation, National Education Association and the Brennan Center for Justice – at the national, state and local level and is providing voter protection services now through Election Day for all 50 states.

For more information about Election Protection, the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline and the Smartphone application, please visit: www.866ourvote.org

 

 

 

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