We know it could never happen in Chicago, but in the event you’re kept from voting or witness some other sort of funny business on election day, a group of election law experts is promising to have your back. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE at any point Tuesday and you’ll be connected to a group of lawyers and law students who can help with voting issues from finding the right polling place to documenting fraud.
The help line is the work of the Election Protection Coalition, a group led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights along with other rights organizations and law firms. In the last two election cycles, help lines have been set up—and heavily used—in other cities, but organizers say this will be the first such effort in Chicago. The coalition is also setting up Super Tuesday hotlines in New York, LA, and Atlanta.
Besides helping with minor emergencies, such as answering heat-of-the-moment questions from voters and election officials, the coalition is also prepared to file emergency lawsuits. In 2004 it filed election day litigation in Ohio that resulted in an order to keep the polls open in certain precincts where lines threatened to keep people from voting.
“We’re sort of here to provide a service for the community,” says Ben Blustein, one of the organizers of the Chicago hotline. “We’re completely nonpartisan—we don’t care about how people vote as long as they’re able to.”