NYC Election Observers Corps Put in Place to Protect Voters
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the launch of the New York City Election Observers Corps, a volunteer effort to bolster voter protection efforts across the city.
“The right to vote must be protected. That is a core, fundamental responsibility of any government,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The Election Observer Corps will add to the efforts of invaluable community groups that have worked for years to ensure voters know their rights. Voter intimidation is a crime and we will stand united together as a City to protect voters.”
The NYC Election Observers Corps will recruit civically-minded New Yorkers to be trained by DNYC and the Law Department to serve as volunteer, non-partisan observers outside poll sites throughout the city. On Election Day, November 3rd, volunteer observers will be available to direct voters to relevant voter assistance hotlines and notify appropriate channels about any instance of voter intimidation, suppression, or harassment.
NYC Election Observers Corps volunteers will report instances of voter intimidation to a group of central staff, who will coordinate with law enforcement, the State Attorney General and the Board of Elections as needed. DNYC will lead the effort and will coordinate with other non-partisan election protection operations where appropriate.
This morning during his appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe the Mayor responded to the following related question:
Mika Brzezinski: “And finally, Mr. Mayor, getting ready for Election Day, a lot of questions surrounding how that’s going to go. You’re setting up what’s called the Election Observer Corps. Can you tell us about that?”
Mayor de Blasio: “Mika, look, clearly President Trump has tried to discourage people from voting, suggested the election results will not be legitimate. Some of his followers clearly have been practicing intimidation tactics around this country. We cannot have this. So, for New York City – and I’d say this for every city and country, we have to have a voter protection program. On Election Day, we’re going to have hundreds of lawyers, City officials, volunteers, all out there protecting the vote. If they see any instance of intimidation, any effort to stop people from voting – and we know where this is going to be targeted, it’s where it’s always been targeted, in lower income communities, in immigrant communities, where people of color live. That’s where intimidation efforts have been over the years. We’re going to have a strong voter protection effort because you cannot let this election be stolen by intimidation. “