So for those who have been watching, to close the loop
This is a report on Election Protection issues today in a nutshell:
Overall there were a ton of problems during the early voting process and all day today. The turn-out was beyond even the highest expectations. There was also some deeply collaborative response work – election protection was finally addressed as a combined legal, media and grassroots organizing strategy. This is exciting growth, and something to smile about, and though there were problems there were also amazing responses, so we are documenting both here.
Reports fell into a couple of key clusters, so we’re just gonna give y’all highlights, simple as possible:
1. Long lines!
What happened: High turn-out combined with faulty machines, too few machines, and poorly trained poll workers made for some extremely long lines today.
Response: Organizers from various campaigns and amazing citizen activists who heard the call from us and other groups today went out to the polls with chairs, music, poems, rhymes and song to help support voters to stay strong. Folks video’d the vote, tweeted, called, and stayed out as long as they needed to keep people at the polls, and make sure their vote was counted.
2. Names not on the rolls!
What happened: Towards the beginning of the day in particular, the reports were largely that folks showed up and their names weren’t there. This wasn’t just for new voters, a lot of the reports were from folks who had voted in the same place for more than 2 elections.
Response: Calls poured into 866-OUR-VOTE (over 50,000 today alone) and legal teams responded where possible, and well-prepared voter education teams reminded people to fight for their right to vote. Unfortunately in a lot of places that meant voting on provisional ballots, which are the last to be counted.
3. Machine Glitchery!
A) President Vote Disappearances: when folks selected a presidential candidate, then selected a straight party line, it somehow disappeared the presidential selection. Initially this was only being reported by Democrats, but there were isolated Republican, Green and other parties seeing this happen.
B) Machines broke! Overuse? Sabotage? Just not enough of them? Time will tell. This is one area Black Box Voting and others covered very well, and we need to be prepared to follow their lead in the future.
Response: Voters who noticed this were given paper ballot options. In situation A, officials claimed it was counting in the magic machine even though it wasn’t showing up. The power of voter organizing was in effect here and kept folks ensured that their vote would be counted, hopefully by paper ballot!
4. Nefarious texting and flyers!
What happened: College students and others were reported as receiving messages telling them to vote on Wednesday due to long lines and last minute “change of plans.” We received reports of this happening in TX, FL, PA, MT, GA, VA, NM, CO and UT. In some messages it was specified that Democrats should vote on Wednesday.
Response: Jaws dropped, and then folks sent out educational emails, texts and got the message to their organizers in the field to let folks know that the vote for all people was in fact November 4, 2008. Amazing viral outreach on this one!
There was more, there was so much more, but right now we have to run out in the street and act a fool.
One exciting point that for us is huge, cuz y’all know we have given our hearts to this: Young people, who made up 18% of the voters today, were out in force. Black folks were out in force. Gay folks were out in force. The energy of the day was remarkable, and we want to shout out our gratitude to everyone who hit the streets, phones, blogs, and polls for the last months and today starting at 3am.
So – WE LOVE YOU!
And we’ll be back to work tomorrow
Adrienne Maree Brown and Jessamyn Delight Sabbag