Massachusetts Election Protection

In Massachusetts, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice coordinated a non-partisan Election Protection campaign partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, the Anti-Defamation League,  and MassVote. Our campaign deployed 500+ non-partisan poll monitors across the Commonwealth and responded to calls to the voter hotline (866-OUR-VOTE). On Election Day, our election protection work was featured on various news outlets:

http://www.wbur.org/politicker/2016/11/08/election-day-polling-places

http://boston.cbslocal.com/video/3574747-mass-voters-wait-hours-to-cast-ballot-on-election-day/

http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/despite_long_lines_in_boston_f.html

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_politics/2016/11/state_turnout_nears_record

On Election Day, we received more than 400 calls at our non-partisan Election Protection command center in Boston. Here’s a snapshot:

  •  reports of election officials improperly denying provisional ballots (high volume of affected voters of color in Lowell and Lynn) (reports also coming in from Chelsea, Worcester, Springfield, and Hyde Park)
  • voters who registered through motor vehicles not appearing on the rolls: Boston, Springfield, and Lynn
  • voters purged from the rolls (potentially a systemic issues that we are monitoring and examining)
  • lack of accessibility for people with disabilities: Boston (Hyde Park and South End) and New Bedford
  • language access barriers: Lawrence (Spanish) and Dorchester (Vietnamese)
  • excessively long lines (1 to 2+ hours): Lowell and Boston (Hyde Park, Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, South End)
  • aggressive electioneering (particularly on both sides of Question 2): Boston (Codman Square and East Boston); Lowell; and Lawrence.
  • broken machines in nearly a dozen cities: Boston (Hyde Park, Roxbury, and South End); Lawrence; Springfield; New Bedford; Ludlow; Lynn; Chelsea; Harverhill; Lowell; Marlboro; and Newbury.

Nearly all issues were addressed in real time working closely with local and state election officials. But the denial of provisional ballots, particularly in communities of color such as Lowell and Lynn, disenfranchised vulnerable voters.