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For Immediate Release

Contact

Ian Weiner, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, idweiner@lawyerscommittee.org

Press Release

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Activates Network of 23,000 Legal Volunteers to Safeguard Voting Rights For 2020 General Election

Major Law Firms Across Country Provide Critical Support for Election Program and Its 866-OUR-VOTE Hotline to Help Safeguard Voting Rights During Unprecedented Threats
WASHINGTON -

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has activated a growing network of over 23,000 legal volunteers to safeguard voting rights and counter threats to ballot access during the 2020 election season. This network, up from 5,000 legal volunteers in prior election seasons, is working 7 days a week to support the Election Protection program. Election Protection works to ensure that voters are able to vote during the pandemic and during a moment of rising voter suppression rates. Public demand for the services and support provided by Election Protection have intensified during the pandemic and in the wake of continuing voter suppression rates.  

“We face extraordinary threats to ballot access in the 2020 election season resulting from the pandemic, misinformation about vote by mail, robocalls and thinly-veiled threats to deploy nefarious poll watchers in certain parts of the country,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which leads the Election Protection program. “We have activated a growing network of over 23,000 legal volunteers to help confront the threats that voters and to empower voters with the information they need to ensure that their voices are heard. This is a record number during the nearly 2 decades that the program has been in place. We have also filed nearly 3 dozen voting rights cases since the pandemic. By empowering voters, intervening where threats emerge and mounting litigation to address the unlawful barriers that voters have faced during the pandemic, we are fighting to create a level playing field where every voice is heard.” 

Election Protection is the country’s largest and longest-running non-partisan voter protection program. The program is supported by a network of over 150 law firms that stretches from coast to coast, and consistently has been a part of firms’ pro bono programs since 2004.  Partners and associates at firms, lawyers at corporations, private lawyers and others help to staff and support the national voter hotline and legal field programs that span the country. In addition, law firms host numerous 866-OUR-VOTE hotline call centers, field command offices and volunteer trainings. The pro bono support provided by law firms provides critical support for Election Protection and is germane to its success. 

Election Protection is also fueled by a coalition of hundreds of local, state and national organizations that are working to protect voting rights. Since July 1, 2020, the Election Protection hotline has fielded over 100,000 calls. 

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy and protecting voters’ access to the ballots is essential to ensuring fair and open elections,” said Harlene Katzman, pro bono counsel and director at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.  “We are fortunate to have hundreds of lawyers who are volunteering their time to ensure that anyone who has a question or faces difficulty in voting has access to accurate and updated information via the hotline.” 

“As a lawyer based in Georgia, I see first-hand the barriers that voters too often face. Whether through emergency litigation, engaging with election officials or working to provide direct support to voters, I’ve been proud to support the Election Protection program for over 15 years.  Our work to protect voting rights and prevent disenfranchisement matters now more than ever," said Harold Franklin, parner, King & Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia. 

To learn more about participating in Election Protection and the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, visit www.866ourvote.org.

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The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today.

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