[Our guests today are from Election Protection — Eric Marshall and Marjorie Lindblom. Both have worked for fair elections and voter access on all sides of the aisle. Please help me welcome them to FDL, stay on topic, and take off-topic discussions to the prior thread. Thanks! — CHS]

Far too often in media, election issues boil down to a two-sided politics and partisans argument: voter fraud versus voter access.

But there is so much more, including that a fair and open vote is an essential foundation to American government — the voice and will of the people expressed in each, individual ballot.

The problem with these issues is that, far too often, "voter fraud"  allegations are launched with little to no evidence of actual fraud, a whole lot of smoke, and meant as cover for voter suppression efforts in a tight race. And vice-versa. Sorting through the details is no easy job.  

Especially with the hodge-podge of state-by-state election laws and varying enforcement thereof, questions of DOJ politicization, and the likes of Hans Von Spakovsky and Bradley Schlozman in the mix.  

It’s no wonder far too many Americans throw their hands up in disgust and think their vote won’t even be counted.  And that doesn’t even touch on potential issues with electronic voting and voter purges.

Which brings us to today’s guests. The Election Protection Coalition was established "to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process."

Through our state of the art hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) and 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund), this website, and comprehensive voter protection field programs across the country, we provide Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive voter information and advice on how they can make sure their vote is counted.

Made up of more than 100 local, state and national partners, this year’s coalition will be the largest voter protection and education effort in the nation’s history.

Why is this important? Because voter registration all over the country has broken records this year — we saw the massive turnout increases in the primaries, but election budgets in a number of places have not increased since 2004. This can mean longer lines, equipment failures and a whole host of headaches that the Election Protection folks are hoping to help voters navigate with fewer hitches this year.

No matter our party registration, we all benefit from a fair and honest election.

What Election Protection is doing is to help make that a reality, by giving advice early and also giving a hand to folks who have problems on the spot. It’s a fantastic idea, and one whose time has certainly come. With that, I welcome Eric and Marjorie and open the floor to your questions and discussion.

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com