Going to the Polls

Heightened oversight may ease Election Day stress

problems when it comes to the actual election because you’ve got the book of dirty tricks that comes into play,” Brooks says.

To ward off some of these problems, groups such as the AFGE, the ACLU and the National Campaign for Fair Elections are educating new voters about what to expect when they go to the polls so they’re less likely to be deceived by misinformation.

Voters should also not assume that they’re on the voter registration rolls even if they’ve registered before the deadline, Goldman says. “Call your local election official and say, ‘Am I on the rolls?’ If you’re on the rolls, great. Then find out where your polling place is so you can be prepared to vote on Election Day. If you’re not on the rolls, they have to tell you why you’re not.”

Various groups have set up hotlines to help voters learn about the registration process and collect complaints if voters run into problems on Election Day. For example, in January, The Tom Joyner Morning Show and the NAACP National Voter Fund launched the hotline 1-866-MYVOTE1 to inform and empower voters. Others have set up Websites to centralize information for voters such as the National Campaign for Fair Elections’ www.866OurVote.org.

Heightened scrutiny by groups who are working to help the election process proceed without a glitch may keep some problems at bay, but voters should know their rights and expect long lines to make sure their ballot is cast in November, experts say.

“The overwhelming majority of voters will be able to go through the process on Election Day without any problems,” Goldman says. “But there’s a possibility that you can get there and wait a little longer.

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