Election Protection volunteers – Thank you for fighting the forces of evil!
It’s a little dramatic. But on Election Day, that’s how it felt. From the moment we switched on the hotlines at the Election Protection Command Center in the Los Angeles law firm of Reed Smith, the calls came pouring in. There were calls from voters, calls from monitors, calls from reporters, and even calls from – I am convinced – True the Vote trying to test us with dumb questions about voting twice.
True the Vote? In California? Yes. They called themselves “Election Integrity Project” so they would not be pelted with tomatoes as soon as people saw them, but they were everywhere. Before the election, they were busy scouring official voter lists, turning in names of people they thought might be “fraudulently” registered. (Turns out they were picking up mostly homeless people who had registered at churches, domestic violence victims in undisclosed safe houses, and twins who lived under the same roof).
On Nov. 6th, “Election Integrity Project” recruited people to be poll workers – the people who are supposed to run the elections at the precinct level! – as well as poll monitors. All day long, our monitors and voters reported poll workers violating the law by asking every voter for ID, or in one case just targeting Latino voters for ID. What True the Vote was trying to do in other states by passing draconian voter restrictions, these people had tried to infiltrate California poll sites as poll workers. Here’s what John Smith, our Common Cause Southern California organizer reported happening in San Bernardino:
“Our poll monitors observed that poll workers at Delman Heights Center were asking all voters for ID. They called me to report. I notified the San Bernardino Registrar’s office. About an hour later I received a call from Registrar Michael Scarpello who told me that our report had been accurate – these poll workers had been asking every voter for ID. His staff had gone out to verify the situation, and resolve it. He thanked us for helping.”
Who were the Election Protection poll monitors? 3 amazing high school students, Victoria M., Veronica M., and Guadalupe T. who had gotten permission to volunteer to be poll monitors. They observed, they reported, and as a result, they protected the right to vote for hundreds of voters. That was a civics lesson of a lifetime!
I’ll save the story of the pollworker who threatened to pull a gun on one of our Latino poll monitors for speaking Spanish in a poll site for another day. These bullies at the ballot box were out in force on Election Day.
Thank goodness for the forces of good, including Sean L., a Loyola Law student who had “the most amazing day” in his life as an Election Protection Monitor. He made sure no electioneers got close to the pollsite and was interviewed by the LA Times:
So to all the people who volunteered as poll monitors and hotline volunteers and team captains, to those who gave backbreaking hours to be real poll workers, and to those who just exercised their all-American right to vote – THANK YOU! You make our country proud! (I’m a little verklempt).