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A Victory for Election Protection in Maryland

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Message Jonah Goldman

On Tuesday, as Americans in nine states and the District of Columbia voted in primary elections, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, together with our Election Protection partners, guaranteed that thousands of otherwise disfranchised Marylanders had the opportunity to cast a ballot. Late Tuesday afternoon, Judge Holland of the Baltimore City Circuit Court ordered polls to remain open throughout Baltimore for an extra hour because of polls not opening on time, voting machine problems, absent poll workers, and long lines. I was honored to represent the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP and multiple individuals who called the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline throughout the day. In all communities in Maryland and across the country, we again saw an unresponsive election system plagued with irregularities. Thanks to the year-round commitment of the Lawyers' Committee's National Campaign for Fair Elections, voters have a powerful ally in the fight to right this undemocratic wrong.

The National Campaign for Fair Elections, a dynamic, integrated initiative of the Lawyers' Committee's Voting Rights Project, is proud to launch an exciting new tool to continue that tradition: - a clearinghouse for Election Protection and election reform information and advocacy.

The National Campaign for Fair Elections (NCFFE) incorporates litigation, policy development, legislative advocacy, and Election Protection to comprehensively address the needs of American voters throughout the election process. The Campaign's goal is to foster a sustainable election reform movement that promotes progressive changes to the electoral process, improving the voting process at the local, state, and national level. NCFFE's central premise is that to fix the crumbling infrastructure of American elections, we cannot wait until Election Day.

Through the hard work of supporters like you, Election Protection 2004 created an unprecedented voter protection program, mobilizing 25,000 trained volunteers, including 8,000 legal volunteers recruited to monitor polling places, educate voters, facilitate a dialogue with local and state election officials, provide legal support to poll monitors, and answer the voter protection hotline, which received over 200,000 calls from voters in all 50 states. Election Protection 2006 is underway now, and volunteers are again needed to assist voters from registration through Election Day. You can learn more at to

NCFFE is fulfilling our year-round commitment to American voters by:

* Protecting the rights of minority voters as well as seniors, young voters, language minority voters, poor voters, and voters with disabilities as lead legal partner in the national Election Protection program;

* Fighting in the courts to protect the rights of all Americans;

* Monitoring the electoral process across the country;

* Advocating for real reform at the federal and state level;

* Fighting attempts by incumbent politicians to rig the election rules by removing eligible voters from the process;

* Working with election officials to ensure that administration of the voting process prevents disfranchisement; and

* Advising voters and registration groups through the registration process.

Our new website updates you on the activities of the National Campaign, provides information about current developments in election reform and Election Protection, offers advocates the ability to take action and support the work of the campaign, and provides opportunities to volunteer.

I hope you will take some time to learn more about the National Campaign for Fair Elections:

Thanks again for your support and your commitment to our nation's democratic values,

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Jonah Goldman is the Director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections.
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