Committee of Seventy launching voter help hotline

election vote
(Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro)

Political watchdog Committee of Seventy will on Wednesday launch its 1-866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection Hotline, a national nonpartisan hotline for Pennsylvania voters.

Trained volunteers will field calls from across the state concerning questions about the upcoming May 21 primary election.

“It’s a great resource for voters with any questions about elections,” head of Seventy’s 2013 Primary Election Day program Molly Morrill said in a statement.

Callers are encouraged to contact the hotline in advance of the May 21 primaries for information about polling place locations, deadlines for absentee ballots and Election Day rules.

“The earlier you get prepared to vote, the better,” Morrill said.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the May 21 primary is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14 .

Completed absentee ballots must be received by County Boards of Election by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17 .

The 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) Election Protection Hotline is sponsored nationally by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and staffed in Pennsylvania by the Committee of Seventy for each year’s primary and general elections.

Committee of Seventy-trained volunteers will also be out at Philadelphia polling places on May 21 to resolve any problems reported to the hotline and notify law enforcement officials, if necessary.

Morrill predicted continuing confusion about the status of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law – as in the November 6, 2012 election, poll workers will be required to ask voters for photo identification, but voters will be permitted to use the voting machines if they do not have such identification.

First-time voters or those casting a ballot  for the first time at a new polling place will be required to show photo or non-photo proof of identification, such as a  voter registration card, Pennsylvania driver’s license or current utility bill.

“Seventy hopes all Pennsylvanians get in the habit of voting in every election,” Morrill said.

“Our job is to ensure that voters have as positive an experience as possible.”


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