From the Democratic National Committee, Oct. 5, 2004


· The Kerry-Edwards campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Coordinated Campaigns are implementing an unprecedented voter protection program for the 2004 general election.  The program will deploy an army of lawyers, organizers, and advocates across the country to protect the right of every citizen to vote and have their vote counted. .

· Kerry-Edwards and the Democratic Party have engaged top legal talent across the country to promote and protect the right to vote. These attorneys will protect voters from intimidation, poor election administration, and illegal acts that suppress voting, particularly in minority communities.

· In every battleground state, there is a Kerry-Edwards state counsel (supported by county counsels) directing legal strategies to fight the efforts of government officials and/or the Republicans to limit voter registration, restrict provisional balloting, put obstacles in the way of legitimately registered voters by imposing unlawful identification and other requirements, and suppress votes in minority communities.

· The Democratic field operations (coordinated campaigns) in more than 20 states have, at the DNC’s expense, employed senior- level, full-time Voter Protection Coordinators (VPCs) who are responsible for organizing and implementing the Democratic Party voter protection program in their states.

    o VPCs are working to ensure that voter registrations are processed timely and that all who register prior to their state’s deadline are put on the voter rolls.
    o VPCs are obtaining forms of general election ballots to ensure that they are understandable, easy to vote, and meet all bi- lingual requirements.
    o VPC’s are training attorneys to monitor the testing and operation of voting systems.
    o VPCs are countering efforts to restrict voting, particularly acts of intimidation and harassment.
    o VPCs are working to make sure that physically disabled voters have accessible polling places and that elderly voters get the necessary assistance to cast their ballots.

· Kerry-Edwards and the Democratic Party are promoting early voting and vote-by- mail and will protect voters who choose to exercise these rights.

· Thousands of volunteer Democratic Party voting rights attorneys will be deployed at precincts in battleground states on Election Day to ensure that polls are opened and staffed properly; that voting systems are tested and operated properly; and especially, that problems experienced by lawfully registered voters are solved quickly; that all those denied the right to cast a regular ballot are afforded the right conferred by law to cast a provisional ballot; and that neither partisans nor government officials impose unlawful challenges or other obstacles to voting.

· Kerry-Edwards and the Democratic Party are investing record amounts in educating voters about their rights, through mail, phones, print media, and electronic media.

Democratic Party 2004 Election Protection Legal Task Force

Members (as of 10/5/04)

Honorable Dennis Archer
• Former Associate Justice, Michigan Supreme Court
• Former Mayor of Detroit
• Immediate Past President, American Bar Association

Honorable Eric Holder
• Former Deputy Attorney General of the United States

Rolando Rios, Esq.
• Voting Rights Attorney, San Antonio, Texas
• Former General Counsel, Southwest Voters Registration and Education Project
• Appointed by President Clinton to Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran's Illnesses

Elaine Jones, Esq.
• Former General Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Professor Charles J. Ogletree
• Jesse Climenko Professor of Law & Vice Dean for Clinical Programs, Harvard Law School
• Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice

Honorable Ron Kirk
• Former Secretary of State for the State of Texas
• Former Mayor of Dallas
• 2002 Democratic Nominee for United States Senate

Honorable Deval Patrick
• Former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

Londell McMillan, Esq.
• McMillan Law Firm, New York City
• Entertainment Attorney & Civil Rights Advocate