The Illinois Primary is fast approaching, and early voting has already begun. Election Protection, a national nonpartisan coalition, is offering a toll-free number staffed by attorneys to help.
Timna Axel is with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which leads the Coalition’s efforts in Illinois. She says citizens have a right to vote but, all too often, there are problems with the process.
“So what we do is we provide a free hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE where anybody can call in and speak with a lawyer on the phone, a lawyer who can answer those questions and provide live assistance,” Axel said, "to make sure they are not improperly turned away or intimidated."
Axel says problems can range from registration or ballot issues to outright intimidation. Almost a thousand calls were made to the hotline in 2016. The coalition also offers a number to call for Spanish speakers, 888-VEY-VOTA (888-839-8682) and the number 888-API-VOTE for voter services in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali/Bangla and other languages.
“That right to exercise your speech and cast a ballot for the candidate of your choosing is absolutely fundamental to the functioning of our democracy,” Axel said.
The line is available for questions now through Election Day.