What did you do during the Great Election of '04?

Want to take part in the making of American history? Here's how to volunteer -- to make sure the voters turn out and the election is fair.

By Jeff Horwitz
Published October 28, 2004 3:03AM (UTC)
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With the polls tied only five days before the election, every vote makes a difference. If you want to get involved in this historic election, Salon has compiled the following list of ways you can help get more people to the polls on Tuesday and protect their voting rights.

For those looking to temporarily relocate to a swing state, the Kerry campaign has organized a volunteer program called Kerry Travelers. America Votes, America Coming Together and MoveOn.org all have similar Web-based tools to recruit volunteers for a last-minute swing state rush.


But you don't have to go to a presidential battleground state. There are dozens of important Senate, congressional and state legislative races outside of the swing states where progressive candidates are in need of help, and volunteering for one of them might make more sense than buying a bus ticket to Cleveland. If you'd like to check on the local races in your state, the DSCC tells you how.

And if you've got a legal background and would like to help the Democratic Party keep the election clean, consider volunteering for the DNC's Voting Rights Institute.

For any problems on the day of the election itself, MoveOn PAC has put together a voter reference card (PDF) with advice for how to deal with voting troubles as well as phone numbers for voter hot lines.


People for the American Way offers some useful resources as well at Election Protection 2004, including a list of voters' rights (they vary state by state), and an online tool that will tell you where to vote, based on your address.

There are also two free national voter hotlines. (866) MY-VOTE1 (sponsored by NBC News and the Reform Institute) allows you to leave a message about voting problems in your area or find your polling location, and the Election Protection Coalition's (866) OUR-VOTE allows you to report Election Day problems to a volunteer. The latter phone number will almost certainly be a popular one on Election Day, so only use it if you have to.

The Kerry/Edwards Campaign has a list of state election boards. You should contact them to report anything suspicious, or to check on voting procedure. Also listed are any state-specific election voter hot lines (Florida gets its very own).


An organization called Time to Vote lists the 30 states in which employers are legally obligated to give their employees time off to vote, and in some cases, up to three hours of paid leave. Check -- you might be in luck.

And finally, if the election doesn't look fair in your area, let us know about it. Send in reports of voter intimidation, ballot-box stuffing, touch-screen voting machine malfunctions and more to Salon at votewatch@salon.com.

Jeff Horwitz

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