Friday, September 05, 2008

Know your voter rights!...and know where to access resources!

I attended an event this evening called, "It's my vote. Make it count!" and found out some interesting information you might find useful no matter where you are in the United States. They informed us about different sites and phone numbers that can help make sure our vote counts on November 4.

Did you know that the #1 problem in getting out the vote is that people don't know their poll location?? There are some ways to make finding out easy. Go to All you have to do is select your state and type in your address.

Did you know that if you cast a provisional ballot at one polling place, but are actually registered for a different polling place, your vote will not count. Last election, 700 votes in Dallas County were lost because of this. It is important that we know, and help others know, their correct polling place!

If you live in Dallas County (in Dallas, Texas), you can go to Dallas County Elections. They have all kinds of great information about voting on the right hand column of their website. They would also LOVE to have more volunteers for November 4. Contact Bruce Sherbet, Elections Administrator, directly at 2377 North Stemmons Frwy, Suite 820 Dallas, TX 75207 (214) 637-7937.

You can find out your voter rights at
For example, as a registered voter in Texas, you have the right to:
  1. A ballot with written instructions on how to cast the ballot.
  2. Cast your vote in secret and free from intimidation.
  3. Receive up to two more ballots if you make a mistake while marking the ballot.
  4. Ask the polling place official for instructions on how to cast the ballot (but not for suggestions on how to vote).
  5. Bring an interpreter to assist you as you qualify to vote if you do not understand the English language.
  6. Help to cast your ballot if you cannot write, see the ballot, or understand the language in which it is written.
  7. Bring written materials into the voting booth to assist you as you cast your ballot.
  8. Report a possible voting rights abuse to the Secretary of State (1.800.252.8683) or to your local election official.
  9. Cast a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the list of registered voters or you do not have proper identification.
  10. Vote once at any early voting location during the early voting period within the territory conducting the election.
  11. File an administrative complaint with the Secretary of State concerning violations of federal and state voting procedures.
Finally, in our world of cell phones, what may be the easiest is to simply program in 1-866-myvote1 (1-866-698-6831).

This number can be used before the election to register to vote. Simply call the number, follow the directions to register, and they will send an application straight to your home. One of their suggestions was to carry around a cell phone and, when meeting people, simply hand them the cell phone to provide their information and register.

This number can also be used during the election to call in immediately while at the polls if there is any problem. The 60-second message you leave will be recorded and listened to almost immediately. As the messages are recorded, they are able to pinpoint where the major problems occur and get people to begin addressing those situations.

What are some things you can call in about?
  • Running out of ballots at your polling location
  • Lines being too long
  • Intimidation
  • Feeling like something's wrong
We do have rights. But it's important to know what those rights are...get the word out to others...and know how to easily access the resources that help ensure those rights.

Pass it on!
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