Last-minute changes threaten to disenfranchise voters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2019
PHILADELPHIA–All Voting is Local, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Campaign Legal Center, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition, and Pennsylvania Voice sent a letter today to Philadelphia City Commissioners urging them to inform voters about widespread polling place changes throughout the city — decisions made just days before the November 5 municipal election.
The groups state that while they acknowledge the city taking steps to modernize elections and ensure that polling places are accessible to voters with disabilities, these late-breaking changes could cause voters to show up to the wrong polling places and not have their voices heard.
The letter states: “It is incumbent upon the city to make these changes in the least disruptive manner and take meaningful steps to communicate these changes to impacted communities, so that no eligible voter is wrongfully disenfranchised.”
The groups explain that polling place closures and changes are not simply a matter of logistics. Rather, they can result in long lines, transportation hurdles, and mass confusion about where eligible voters may cast their ballot. For many people, particularly voters of color, older voters, and voters with disabilities, these burdens make it harder — if not impossible — to vote.
The letter includes calls on city elections officials to:
- Immediately publish a final list of all polling locations for the November 5 election so organizations can properly educate voters about where to vote.
- Reach every voter affected by polling place changes before November 5, including by phone, text, email, and U.S. mail.
- Publicize a final list of polling locations through public service announcements on local radio and news.
- Provide advocacy organizations a final list of November 5 polling places, as well as a list of all changes, by precinct and by polling location name.
Read the letter here.
All Voting is Local fights to eliminate needless and discriminatory barriers to voting before they happen, to build a democracy that works for us all. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For more information about All Voting is Local, visit https://allvotingislocal.org and follow us on Twitter @votingislocal.