Media call for workshop on “Last-minute strategies to reduce voter suppression” — Wednesday, 11 AM Eastern/8 AM Pacific

Last-minute strategies to reduce voter suppression

Audio available here

The Voter Suppression Wiki’s Workshop on Last-minute strategies to reduce voter suppression identified several major opportunities to protect voting rights during the week of the election. While election officials, campaigns, and non-partisan organizations have all made major effort to inform voters, there is still a significant lack of awareness of key resources such as state and national hotline numbers and online sites that allow people to check their polling location. Blogs and other online media could play a big role by providing election protection information on their front pages between now and the election; real-world community hubs such as libraries, coffeeshops and bars, and community technology centers also can make this information much more prominent. More effective coordination between election protection organizations, student groups, and community activists can help spread the word more quickly in response to last-minute election alerts such as polling location changes, undelivered ballots, and extensions of poll closing times.
In addition to briefly presenting the report’s recommendations and giving the press and opportunity for questions, this call will also discuss the broad grassroots election protection/citizen journalism movement, including projects like the Election Protection Wiki, Twitter Vote Report, and Video the Vote; the involvement of corporations such as CREDO Action and Wetpaint; and how these efforts can have a significant impact on the 2008 election.

The full report is available at

Moderator: Jon Pincus, Workshop Organizer, Vice-chair of online visibility for the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy (CFP) conference

Baratunde Thurston: blogger at Jack and Jill Politics and founder of the Voter Suppression Wiki
Tracy Viselli: blogger at Reno and Its Discontents and member of the Voter Suppression Wiki and Twitter Vote Report
Harry Waisbren: Madison lead for Campus Progress, co-host of Forward Forum
Andrea Price: Public Access of Indianapolis
Pam Spaulding, blogger at Pam’s House Blend
Dave Johnson: Election Protection Wiki
Alex Wise: Credo Action

Dustin Woodard and Devin Hughes: Wetpaint
Nancy Scola, techPresident

Talking points

  • the biggest last-minute opportunities for reducing voter suppression are from engaging many more people in election protection activities, better information and resource sharing between the many groups working in this area, and increasing, online and offline visibility of resources like the 1-866-OUR-VOTE/1-888-VE-Y-VOTA hotlines
  • we’ve already had early adoption of several of our recommendations, such as the suggestion that blogs and websites should prominently feature election protection information
  • the tens of thousands of people taking part in “citizen journalism” projects such as Twitter Vote Report and Video the Vote are all potential resources for reducing voter suppression
  • in preparation for a chaotic environment on election day, voters and activists should make sure to have paper copies of the information they need, and activists and election administrators should be prepared with backup phone numbers in case of a denial of service attack on 1-866-OUR-VOTE or other resources
  • the goal of voters and activists should be to keep the lines moving smoothly at the polling station. If problems are encountered remain calm, be polite, do not blame poll workers; if issues can’t be resolved quickly, call the hotline.

About the Workshop on Last-minute techniques to reduce voter suppression

The Workshop on Last-minute techniques to reduce voter suppression was held from October 25-28, headquartered at the Voter Suppression Wiki, with a goal of “concrete, actionable ideas that can make a difference in the short time between now and election day”.  Roughly 30 people participated via phone calls, online discussions, email, IM and chat; most were very new to voting rights activism, with a broad set of backgrounds including blogging, community organizing, technology, and media.  The workshop’s recommendations are unsurprisingly influenced by the characteristics of the participants, in particular their geographical diversity and community-based perspectives on election protection.  For more about the workshop, see Jon Pincus’ announcement and update on Liminal States

About the Voter Suppression Wiki

The Voter Suppression Wiki is a non-partisan hub of information and action around efforts to suppress votes in the 2008 U.S. elections. For more information, please see our strategy and talking points; Baratunde Thurston’s Announcing The Launch Of The Voter Suppression Wiki – Learn, Report, Act on Jack and Jill Politics; Jon Pincus’ A wiki, Saving democracy? on Liminal States; and the other links on our blogging about VSWiki page.