The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas is launching a voter hotline to guard against voting problems.
The Election Protection hotline will allow voters to call with questions or any issues they encounter at the polls this election season.
Kansas ACLU’s Legal Director Lauren Bond described potential issues the hotline could be used for.
“If there’s intimidation at the polls, if someone’s standing there and campaigning in a very threatening way, if there are questions about how long the line is, problems with the voting machines, that’s something that people might call the hotline about," Bond said. "And then we would reach out to local election officials to try to help get that resolved."
Volunteer attorneys based in Kansas City will answer hotline calls during the Kansas primary election on Aug. 7 and the general election on Nov. 6.
If a Kansas voter calls on a different date, they will be directed to a national hotline.
There are three voter hotlines available for assistance in a variety of languages:
866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) provides assistance in English from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) provides bilingual assistance in English and Spanish from the National Association of Latino Elected Appointed Officials Educational Fund
888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) provides assistance in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Tagalog from Asian Pacific Islander American Vote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Bond said that Kansas’ Election Protection hotline is modeled after similar hotlines run by ACLU chapters in other states.
“We have consulted with other Election Protection programs in states like Pennsylvania and Nevada to build something similar that is still reflective of the needs and concerns of Kansans,” Bond said.
The Kansas ACLU is also sending volunteers to provide on-site assistance at polling places in target areas, including Sedgwick, Reno and Johnson counties. Bond said the on-site volunteers will work as a supplement to the election office poll workers to answer voters’ questions. On-site volunteers will also help connect voters with the hotline for assistance with more complicated issues.
For more information about ACLU of Kansas, visit its website.
Ascha Lee is a KMUW Engagement Assistant and News Lab intern. Follow her on Twitter @AschaLee.