MOJO VIDEO: Inside a National Election Hotline Call Center

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Election Protection is a coalition of voting rights groups that, as I mentioned in this space yesterday, is hosting the nation’s premier voter hotline — 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Yesterday, I visited the org’s national command center in downtown Washington DC, where trained volunteers were handling phone calls by the thousands from voters seeking information or reporting problems. As you can see on Election Protection’s online database of voter reports, the volunteers received more than 10,000 calls by 9:20 am today. A new report is added every few seconds, in real time.

Officials from Election Protection were kind enough to give me an explanation of how they do what they do, and what challenges remain in their way. Have a look.

Election Protection is blasting reporters with some of the worst voting problems it is seeing around the country today. After the jump, a collection:

VIRGINIA: Polling place problems are widespread across the state of Virginia. We’re hearing directly from over ten locations all across the state, including Richmond, Portsmouth, Lynchburg, Chesapeake, Vienna and Virginia Beach.

Some of the most common problems reported are long lines, which experts have expected. However, polling machines and ballot boxes are not functioning properly in several locations and some voters are reporting there have been no offers of paper ballots. Some polling places were not open as of 7am.

PENNSYLVANIA: We are receiving reports from multiple polling places in Philadelphia that voting machines are out of order or did not arrive at the location. This is causing long lines–we received one report that a line has reached more than 500 people.

If 50% or fewer of the voting machines are working, polling officials must provide paper ballots to voters. We are monitoring this trend and investigating each report.

Update on PA: Local election officials are deputizing trained Election Protection volunteers because pollworkers in Pittsburgh are overwhelmed by the crush of voters.

OHIO: Election Protection has received reports from numerous polling locations in Columbus that are experiencing severe problems with voting machines, resulting in long lines. In some places, none of the machines are working.

FLORIDA: Developing story: Tallahassee voters show up to polls, only to find ballots are missing.

(Photo by flickr user Barack Obama used under a Creative Commons license.)

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate