Local, State and National Organizations Join Forces to Protect Access to the Ballot Box

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
October 16, 2012 2:01 pm

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ACLU of Tennessee
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NASHVILLE – With early voting beginning on Wednesday, October 17, numerous state, local and national organizations have joined forces to educate, empower and mobilize voters. The non-partisan coalition, including Tennessee Citizen Action, the ACLU of Tennessee, the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights, NAACP-Nashville Chapter, the League of Women Voters of Nashville, and several Vanderbilt University Law School student groups, is collectively protecting access to the ballot box through statewide distribution of voter education materials, poll watching, student early voting mobilization and a voter hotline.

“Our joint, non-partisan, multi-pronged campaign empowers Tennessee voters by giving them the tools, resources and protection they need to cast their ballots and determine the future of this country,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN). “There is no more important right in our democracy than the right to vote and yet this election season numerous obstacles have been set up that make it more difficult to vote, especially for people of color, students and seniors.”

While different member organizations have taken the lead on various campaign elements, collectively the campaign includes:

  • Operation Wake-up and Vote Early (W.A.V.E.) – Students from colleges and universities across Nashville will gather on Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at the Davidson County Election Commission office (800 2nd Avenue South, Nashville) to exercise their right to vote. There will also be a rally with a free cookout and music from local radio station 101.1 The Beat Jams to support the students and educate bystanders. This student-led, non-partisan event is being organized by students from Meharry, Vanderbilt, Fisk, Tennessee State University, Belmont and American Baptist College.

“We want to not only educate and empower young voters, but also stand in solidarity with all those who might be affected by the new Photo ID to Vote law,” said Jane Mantey from Meharry Medical College, an Operation: W.A.V.E. organizer. “Operation: W.A.V.E., will allow us to do that by directly confronting the new photo ID law and setting precedents for any challenges that voters may face on November 6, 2012.”

“We all share in the responsibility for the integrity of our elections,” said Mary Mancini, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, “and this historic protection effort shows that in Tennessee we take that responsibility very seriously.”

Anyone concerned about her or his ability to vote in the 2012 election because of difficulty obtaining a photo ID is urged to contact ACLU-TN at 615-320-7142 oraclutn@aclu-tn.org.

ACLU-TN is a statewide organization at the forefront of civil liberties battles across Tennessee, employing a range of strategies including advocacy, education, legislative lobbying and litigation to ensure that Tennesseans’ constitutional freedoms are protected. An affiliate of the National ACLU, ACLU-TN is a private, non-profit, non-partisan membership organization.

Tennessee Citizen Action works in the public interest as Tennessee’s premier consumer rights organization. Its mission is to work tirelessly to improve the overall health, well-being, and quality of life for all people who live and work in Tennessee.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a national organization dedicated to securing equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.

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