By Kathy Mimberg, Senior Media Relations Associate, Communications Department, NCLR
I arrived at NCLR’s office before 7:00 a.m. today, ready to volunteer for the “¡Ve Y Vota!” election hotline. It is the third presidential election in which I have helped man the phones at NCLR and take questions from voters throughout the U.S. Volunteers are bilingual and have access to online resources that make it easy to answer questions about polling locations, voter registration records, and acceptable forms of identification. If there are any calls about problems or intimidation at polling places, these are flagged to be addressed by legal and voting experts.
I was struck this morning by the great lengths many people are going to in order to vote in this election. We’ve heard about long lines in several states and I spoke to two women this morning who were determined to vote despite the challenges they face in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; their stories are illustrative of how important it is to people that their voices are heard.
Maria and Hellen called the hotline from different parts of New York City to ask where their polling places are located. I called each of them back a few times about where to go and how to confirm with the state government that their voter registration forms had been received. I was so impressed that these women were on dying cell phones in homes that had been without electricity for days, yet they persisted in contacting the hotline and the New York State Board of Elections in order to get the information they needed to vote.
The ¡Ve Y Vota! election hotline received an estimated 2,500 calls yesterday and we expect 5,000 more calls today. Every call represents an American embracing the right to vote and on the other end of the phone is a volunteer who is eager to help them do that.
I’m proud to work at NCLR and look forward to many more years of answering election hotline calls and helping my fellow citizens exercise their right to vote.