Voter protection hotline provides legal help to local voters

Long lines greeted voters at the Montgomery County Board of Elections on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, as early voting began for the November general election. Early in-person voting in the state lasts until Nov. 2 and absentee ballots can be dropped off at the board office until Election Day, which is Nov. 3. In Montgomery County, registered voters can cast their ballot at the board of elections located at 451 W. Third St. in Dayton. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Voters who have problems or concerns about voting in Montgomery and Greene counties can contact the Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition, a nonpartisan coalition that operates a voter assistance hotline during the weeks leading up to Election Day.

The coalition includes the League of Women Voters, NAACP, Common Cause, and local groups and individuals. It is part of the Ohio Voter Coalition.

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“The organization began in 2004. It works to protect the right to vote with the goal of making sure that all those who are registered are able to vote and that all those votes are counted,” said Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney at the public interest law firm Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Dayton. “We work with the Montgomery and Greene County Boards of Elections before Election Day, respond to voter concerns and questions called into the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline during the early voting period and on Election Day.”

Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Dayton.

Voters can call the hotline to report problems voting, voter intimidation, issues with voting machines or ballots. The group can provide legal help and other resources to voters.

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The hotline is open now and will assist voters during early voting. On Election Day volunteers from the coalition also will be outside the 100 foot perimeter at some of the larger polling sites answering questions and helping voters resolve problems, Jacobs said. For example, he said voters may have questions about mandatory identification or what to do if they’ve been required to vote on a provisional ballot.

County board of elections officials will also be at polling places or board offices to handle voter questions and concerns.

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