Washington, D.C. — Today, the Voter Protection Program (VPP) held a press briefing with North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, Phoenix Chief of Police Jeri Williams and Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld to address ongoing bipartisan efforts to ensure safe, fair, and secure elections in 2020 and beyond. With Election Day less than two weeks away, continued movement in the courts on election-related issues, and concerns about disruption on and after November 3, the VPP brought together current and former leaders on the front lines of the effort to protect the vote.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein expressed the work state attorneys general are doing to prevent voter intimidation and other efforts to suppress voting and undermine the public’s confidence in this year’s election results. “Our right to vote is our highest and most important civic duty,” he said. “Government should be about making it easier to vote, not harder. That’s why my state attorney general colleagues and I are working to protect Americans’ right to vote. I will do everything in my power to ensure that every eligible vote counts and that North Carolinians can vote easily and safely. That’s my job — yours is to get out there and vote.”
Over the past several months, state attorneys general — the top lawyers and law enforcement officers for their states — have already secured key wins to protect the integrity of the election. These include: successfully suing to stop changes to the U.S. Postal Service; defending expanded voting laws; prosecuting robocallers spreading misinformation; issuing legal advisories about voter intimidation; and taking quick action against unauthorized drop boxes and attempts to deploy private security forces to polling places.
The Voter Protection Program emerged earlier this year as a critical resource in the effort to safeguard the integrity of the nation’s elections. Joanna Lydgate, National Director of the Voter Protection Program, said, “The role of our state officials hasn’t changed — what’s unprecedented is the way they’ve united around the country to make sure every eligible vote is cast and counted. Americans should know there is a team of leaders equipped with the right tools to safeguard the election. All voters need to do is cast their ballots.
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld sits on the Voter Protection Program’s bipartisan Advisory Board and shared the important role Republicans and Democrats must play in safeguarding the election. “Protecting the vote isn’t a partisan issue. State leaders and law enforcement across the country are working together to make sure every vote is counted,” he said.
Law enforcement leaders are working hand-in-hand with state attorneys general, governors and secretaries of state to ensure all voters are free to vote safely. Jeri Williams, Chief of the Phoenix Police Department and Voter Protection Program advisory board member, said, “Voter intimidation is illegal. The people of this great country deserve to vote their conscience as they see fit. Law enforcement is committed to working with election workers to provide an environment where everyone has safe access to the polls and every vote can be counted.”
The Voter Protection Program advances strategies and recommendations to protect the election and make sure every vote is counted, with a specific focus on the unique tools available to state attorneys general, governors, secretaries of state, and law enforcement leaders. This week, the Voter Protection Program released a toolkit on the limited role of the federal government in elections and shared a litigation update memo highlighting the courts’ recent election decisions and ongoing voting rights litigation across the country. Earlier this month, the VPP developed a toolkit on counter voter intimidation efforts.
The full recording of the briefing can be found here. If you would like additional information or to schedule a follow up conversation with state leaders and experts with the Voter Protection Project, please reach out to Mariam Ahmed, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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