NY AG, Public Advocate, Voting Rights Groups launch election protection program

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FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2020 file photo, a voting location is shown in Mission, Kan. A new survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Opinion Research and USAFacts finds that while voters say it’s pretty easy to find accurate information about voting, they have a harder time knowing whether there’s any factual basis for the information they’re getting from and about the candidates. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

NEW YORK (WWTI) — Representatives and organizations from New York have launched a statewide election protection program.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams were joined by the organization Common Cause/NY to kick off the 2020 nonpartisan election protection program on October 22.

As early voting for the 2020 Election is set to begin on October 24, the program aims to help ensure adequate safety protections are taken at the polls across New York State.

During the kick-off event, over 400 volunteer signed up to assist with either virtual or roving poll monitoring. These volunteers will help voters with urgent questions, protect rights and enforce safety precautions. Due to COVID-19, volunteers are adapting and will be digital, on bikes or in cars.

“COVID-19 has altered our way of life, but one thing has not changed: safe and secure elections,” stated Common Cause/NY Executive Director Susan Lerner. “Just like the primary, we will have hundreds of people on the road and on line helping voters make sure they can cast their ballot correctly, report illegal activity, or just answer nonpartisan questions. Democracy doesn’t pause for anything — and we’re ready to protect the vote.” 

According to Common Cause/NY, Digital volunteers will monitor social platforms such a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help voters in real time. Roving volunteers will be assigned to specific locations.

The volunteer effort stems off of Common Cause/NY’s 2016 Election Protection Program.

Common Cause/NY has hosted 17 remote trainings for volunteers across the state, and has partnered with New York Civil Liberties Union, The Muslim Community Network, Generation Vote, and others to recruit members.

New York early voting is set to begin October 24 and will run through November 1. Voters can request absentee ballots through October 27, 2020.

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