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Three key ways YOU can help protect the 2008 election

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Three key ways YOU can help protect the 2008 election
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
July 3, 2008

http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2008/3152

The world has now endured the horrific consequences of two consecutive stolen presidential elections. So millions of Americans are asking how to stop it from happening again.

There are many things the average citizen can do. But much of it boils down to three simple phases:

1) BEFORE THE ELECTION: REGISTER PEOPLE TO VOTE, CONFIRM THEIR REGISTRATIONS, AND HELP THEM GET PHOTO ID

There are millions of eligible American citizens who have never voted. They are young and old, black and white, men and women, ethnic and native, Republican and Democrat, green and otherwise.

The nation has now been subjected to a focussed national campaign to keep these folks from registering. There have also been mass purges of voter rolls staged through shady computer operations and by other means. In Florida 2000, more than 100,000 alleged ex-felons were purged from the voter lists, almost certainly giving George W. Bush his first term. In Ohio 2004, more than 300,000 citizens were purged from the registration lists, a significant factor in giving Bush his second term.

In the lead-up to election day 2008, your commitment to registering new voters and working with ones who believe they are registered to confirm that belief could make a huge difference. Some states have gone to the trouble to suppress voter registration drives, which gives an indicator how important this really is.

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By all means, spend as much time as you can getting people signed up and confirming the validity of the registrations from those who have voted before---or who were denied the vote in 2004.

In Florida's 2000 presidential election, people with names similar to felons or ex-felons or the same date of birth were not able to vote, even thought they never committed a crime themselves. One-by-one, these people must be re-assured, and registered or re-registered. In Ohio in 2004, 22 counties gave former felons bad information concerning their voting rights. Many were told incorrectly that they couldn't vote if they were on probation or in a halfway house, or they needed a judge to sign off on their registration.

Now, with the blessing of the US Supreme Court, a new barrier has been added: photo ID. In states such as Indiana and many more, photo ID will be required for voting this fall for the first time. We have already witnessed too many voters being excluded from the spring 2008 primaries due to a lack of ID never before required.

So election protection activists are needed to help as many registered voters as possible to obtain the necessary identification for casting a ballot this November.

You can also work at or monitor the local board of elections to make sure that everyone who requests an absentee ballot is mailed one.
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2) ON ELECTION DAY: BE A POLL WORKER

Ultimately, there is no better way to monitor the conduct of an election than to help do it.

The need for poll workers increases every election year. Poll workers have historically tended to be elderly, and their numbers are diminishing.

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