From press release:
Beginning at 6:30 a.m. over 300 volunteers began monitoring precincts in 36 different counties. This project, led by Democracy NC and Ignite NC’s Vote Defender Project, received overwhelming grassroots interest by North Carolinians concerned about voter confusion in the wake of a slew of new voter laws. Volunteer monitors will direct voters who experience issues to the Election Protection hotline (1-888-OUR-VOTE) where voting rights experts will aid voter and document any issues. In addition, the monitors will conduct an exit survey in conjunction with UNC-Charlotte.
“People have witnessed confusion in their communities over the new law and want to take action to protect the vote,” said Jessica Injejikian, a North Carolina native and organizing fellow with the Vote Defender Project. “While everyone has a constitutional right to the ballot, we worry that youth, people of color, and working families will disproportionately encounter barriers as a result of the new legislation.”
The NC Vote Defenders is a non-partisan project started by young people in the fall of 2013 to raise awareness of changing voting laws and advocate for all North Carolinians’ right to the ballot box.
The new Voter ID law has been described as the “worst set of voter suppression laws in the country” and is facing several legal challenges. “Vote Defenders” will distribute accurate, non-partisan information about election laws and document how the new law is being implemented through an exit survey. Additionally, they will document any incidents and seek remedies when possible.
“We want to make sure that anyone who wants to vote, can,” said Lela Ali, a NCSU student and organizer with the Vote Defender Project who will be monitoring precincts in Wake County. “There’s a lot of confusion out there, particularly around the Voter ID changes – which don’t actually take effect until 2016. We will work to build a movement of engaged voters who refuse to let their voices be silenced and will protect and defend their rights.”
Meanwhile, the upcoming highly contested Federal Senate race has seen over $10 million in outside money enter the state, the majority of which has come from Koch brothers, Art Pope, and Karl Rove affiliated organizations.
“North Carolina has become a laboratory for the Koch brothers and Art Pope. They pour money into elections buy influence, and then through ALEC they pass laws that benefit their financial interests.” Said Bryan Perlmutter, Director of Ignite NC and founder of the NC Vote Defender Project. “By shrinking the electorate, by putting up barriers to young people, working people, and people of color, they believe they’ll have even greater influence on future election outcomes.”
The Vote Defender Project will be live tweeting throughout the day.