An App for Voters Rights


A group of civil rights groups recently announced the availability of a smartphone application they say will help fight a nationwide effort to disenfranchise minority and youth voters.
The free “Election Protection” smartphone app gives voters the ability to digitally verify their registration status, find their polling place, encourage their friends and family to vote, fill out voter registration forms and contact election protection officials, according a recent article in the Huffington Post.
Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Appointed and Elected Officials Education Fund, said national efforts to suppress the vote have disproportionately affected Latino voters. Vargas said that a Spanish version of the app is expected to be released in coming weeks.
A Pew study this year showed African Americans and Latinos have a higher rate of smartphone use than other Americans.
Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the app is a “critical tool in our fight against voter suppression,” alluding to state voter identification laws that have raised concerns among civil rights advocates and immigrant groups.
State governments throughout the U.S. have set up voter identification laws and other pieces of legislation that civil rights activists and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have called a “poll tax” that suppresses the vote, similar to efforts to disillusion Jim Crow-era minority voters.
In addition to the smartphone app, the Lawyers’ Committee and NALEO have hotline numbers that citizens can call for voting assistance: 1-866-OUR VOTE and 1-888-VEY VOTA.