LANDOVER, Md. – During Maryland’s early voting this week, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks and fellow leaders gathered outside the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex, an Early Voting site, to underscore the important rights of voters as they head to the polls. Voters will have support through 1-866-OUR-VOTE or one of the other hotlines set up by the Justice Department, Attorney General, or State’s Attorney if they feel they are being unnecessarily challenged or harassed at the polls.
“Casting a vote is one of the most fundamental rights in a democracy and we must staunchly reject any and all efforts to make it harder to exercise that right – in Maryland and across the country,” said Senator Cardin. “In this first election since the U.S. Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act, we want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to vote free from intimidation or delay. The tactics we have seen in Maryland and across America in previous elections are not new. We have a moral obligation to stop these reprehensible activities that are aimed at keeping minorities from exercising their inalienable right to vote.”
“Every registered voter has a right to cast a ballot, free of unlawful intimidation, discrimination or obstruction,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Voter fraud, voter intimidation and voter suppression are illegal. Our office will do everything it can to ensure that our right to vote is respected and protected.”
“The right to vote is not only a sacred one, but it is also a sacred obligation,” said State’s Attorney Alsobrooks. “Our parents and grandparents stood in front of dogs and water hoses, some giving their lives to ensure we had the right to vote. So I challenge everyone to not sit at home, but get out and vote and let nothing turn you away from casting your ballot.”
“Time to mobilize, act and fight for democracy! 2016 is the first presidential election in over 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act,” said Bob Ross, President of the Prince George’s County Chapter of the NAACP. “Now we must act and fight for democracy! There are two main components of this 2016 voter registration campaign. First, to recruit volunteers. Second, to register voters. Get Out The Vote is an additional component outside actually registering voters, and we’ll focus on that specific activity to get people out to the polls.”
“Keeping our elections fair, open and accessible is the hallmark of our Democracy,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, Washington Director and Counsel, of the Brennan Center for Justice. “We commend Senator Cardin for making sure that voters stay informed about their rights through public education efforts. Every voter and every voice matters in helping to strengthen our nation and our Democracy.”
“No citizen should be deprived of the right to vote,” said Josephine Mourning, Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “The Prince Georges County SCLC stands with our leaders in ensuring every citizen is afforded the right to vote and that their right is not threatened. Voter suppression anywhere is a threat to voters everywhere.”
“Thousands of Election Protection volunteers stand ready to help voters nationwide through our 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and will be in 26 states on Election Day,” said Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director, Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “For 14 years, the non-partisan Election Protection program has provided information to voters and worked with election officials to ensure voters can cast a ballot that counts. As always, the program stands ready to help all voters during this election cycle.”
“The right to vote is the most important right in our democracy,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Through our 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and Election Protection program, we encourage voters across the state to report complaints or raise questions between now and Election Day.”
Maryland Early Voting is from October 27 until November 3. During Early Voting, voters are allowed to vote at any polling place in the county in which they live. Maryland law allows for same-day registration during early voting. Before heading out to vote, voters should check their early voting polling place or their election day polling place, and in particular new voters should check whether they need to bring an ID to the polling place. Voters should know what to do if they are not on the voter list, such as insisting on asking to cast a provisional ballot.
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