Morehouse Students Man Phones and Computers to Ensure Voters Are Treated Fairly Nationwide
By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
Jonathan Jackson couldn’t believe some of the stories he heard on Election Day.
As a member of Morehouse College’s Election Protection Team, he was one of 70 students who manned phones and computers in Douglass Hall on Nov. 4 to listen to complaints from voters across the country and then help dispatch attorneys to come to the voters’ aid.
“It’s like I’ve heard everything,” said the senior political science major from Los Angeles. “I mean, from people not having a key to open a polling place to Charlotte, N.C., where it was raining and people were being given wet ballots. It’s crazy.”
But the jobs of Jackson and the other students couldn’t be more important. They were part of the effort to ensure a fair election process for voters nationwide.
They are part of the non-partisan Election Protection Coalition, a group of 100 organizations across the country who are out to ensure voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.
Hassan Crockett, director of The Brisbane Institute and associate professor of political science said he got a call last week from Kirk Clay, the director of civic engagement for the NAACP, and asked if Morehouse students would be willing to get involved.
“We put out a call, organized the students and had them trained last week,” Crockett said. “So we have a group of students who have been trained to look at calls that come through hotlines from CNN and other places that are complaints about their voting experience.
“People around the country -- along with Puerto Rico and Guam -- and our students are taking those calls that have been recorded on the hotlines, categorized those calls, categorized those complaints and then submit those complaints to the coalition members who are thousands of lawyers,” he said.
“They are then going to the polls, looking at the situation and jumping right on it so they can handle any kind of problems that come up. It’s exciting.”
That’s exactly how Quintin Glover felt. The freshman business administration major from Oakland, Calif., was working the phones and heard everything from someone crashing a car into a polling place to someone handing out maps that supposedly directed voters to polling place but actually led them to some woods.
“These things happen and people may just talk about it, but nobody does anything,” he said. “Now people will know about these things and do something about it. So this is important.”
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