UPDATE: Voter suppression tactics in Ohio have apparently just gone up a notch with a last-minute directive issued Friday night that could disenfranchise thousands of Ohio voters–and tip the outcome of the election. According to Ohio State Representative Mike Foley (via MoveOn.org):
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted changed requirements for submitting provisional ballots on Election Day. The directive requires voters, not election officials, to fill out a confusing form listing the type of ID they provided to vote. This new directive is a clear violation of Ohio law and puts even more votes at risk of not being counted. Secretary Husted even instructed election officials to not count ballots where that part of the form has not been correctly filled out by a voter.
Foley has started a petition, along with Cleveland native Nina Hart to support legal efforts to block the measure (hit the link below to sign).
It is pretty common knowledge at this point that tomorrow’s Presidential Election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney may well be decided by voter turnout–or voter suppression, specifically the kind aimed at people of color, as well as lower income voters and the elderly. That’s why we at Okayplayer are proud to join ?uestlove (above, rocking the Hoodie Vote logo in front of millions of viewers on The Roots and Jimmy Fallon‘s performance with Christina Aguilera) and Russell Simmons in supporting Hoodie Vote. Hoodie Vote is a new non-partisan org is asking people to go vote in hoodies on election day in order to make the act of voting a way to hold politicians accountable to communities hit hardest by racial profiling and gun violence. The act of wearing a hoodie is, of course, a reference to this year’s Trayvon Martin tragedy, in which a teenage African-American was shot to death by a neighborhood-watch volunteer–but not subsequently arrested, due to “stand your ground” self-defense laws in Florida.
Hoodie Vote has quietly appeared in more than 50 campuses and urban communities – as well as key states from Florida to Ohio, Virginia to Colorado – powered by word-of-mouth and organizations like Black Youth Vote and Vote Mob. By repping the Hoodie Vote logo, tweeting and facebooking pics and, of course, voting in their hoodies, they say they’re sending a clear message to politicians from judges on up to President: “don’t assume that people in hoodies don’t vote. We do vote. We are deciding your election.”
Another key organization in the fight against voter suppression and disenfranchisement is Video The Vote –a nationwide movement to document cases of voter discrimination. As campaign director Matt Pascarella puts it:
“In an era of partisan voter purges, onerous ID requirements, and organized intimidation, it’s not enough for citizens to just cast their ballots. And with the advent of smart phones and social media, every voter has the power to make sure that any problems in their community are recorded and distributed for all the world to see.”
Video the Vote was founded in 2006 in response to the massive voter disenfranchisement in the elections of 2000 (Florida) and 2004 (Ohio). In 2012, the need to protect voting rights is as great as ever. This election season has seen numerous examples of voting rights being trampled. Voter ID laws have been passed in 33 states, making it more difficult for particularly student, elderly and minority voters to cast ballots. In Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Columbus, billboards were placed in African American and Latino neighborhoods advertising the criminal penalties for voter fraud, an essentially non-existent problem. Additionally, a tea party related group called “True the Vote” has pledged to send volunteers across the country to challenge voters at the polls.
This election cycle, Video the Vote is partnering with Ustream, the leader in live online video to power citizen reporters with a seamless platform to broadcast election hotspots across the country with the Ustream mobile app. On Tuesday, November 6th, citizen reporters will go live on Ustream from polling locations to keep watch on the voting process through live video in order to help monitor voting intimidation and voter suppression in key states throughout the U.S. Video the Vote is also asking voters to tag their content with #VideoTheVote to ensure that it can be easily found by the media. “We know from recent history what happens when elections are this close. It’s up to us as voters to keep watch on our democracy,” said Pascerella.
Streaming goes live on Tuesday here. To find out more info on how to fight voter disenfranchisement in your community by becoming a citizen journalist, watch the informational video after the jump: