Voter suppression? There’s an app for that

By Stephanie Carson
Public News Service-NC

RALEIGH — Early voting in North Carolina is well under way. But on Election Day, thousands will wait until the last minute, and there will be trained election monitors at polling stations to make sure people are given every legal opportunity to vote.

This year, many will be armed with a mobile application to record in real time any voting irregularities across the state.

 Image courtesy Southern Coalition for Social Justice The "Election Collection" app will allow poll-monitor volunteers to document any instances of voter suppression in North Carolina.

Image courtesy Southern Coalition for Social Justice
The “Election Collection” app will allow poll-monitor volunteers to document any instances of voter suppression in North Carolina.

“Election Collection” is the brainchild of Sarah Moncelle with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

“Here at the office on Election Day, as the volunteers are inputting the reports,” she said, “they get updated in real time to the database and also to the map so we can sort of see spatially where the patterns are.”

Data collected from the app will be used to determine if additional staff or volunteers should be sent to particular polling locations, and also shared with groups who are monitoring the effects of North Carolina’s new voting law.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice worked with several partner groups to train volunteers on using the app. It will enable them to collect personalized accounts of issues at the polls, as well as any examples of voter suppression. Moncelle said it’s another tool for voters, in addition to the voting hotlines that are available.

“The hotlines are a way for people to report what’s happening, find out their rights, find out their polling location,” she said. “This app is more for like specifically documenting so that we have a more detailed documentation we can use to show the negative effects.”

On Election Day, because of North Carolina’s new voting law, there is no same-day registration and voters must cast ballots at their assigned precinct since no provisional ballots will be offered for out-of-precinct voting. Voters are not required to have a state-issued photo ID.

More information on the midterm election is online at ncvoterguide.org. More information about the app is at southerncoalition.org.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, News

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