Worried about Voter Suppression? Video the Vote!


In the past few weeks, we've seen efforts to suppress turnout in our election.  We've seen menacing "voter fraud" billboards pop up in predominately African American and student communities.  And just yesterday, a military ballot from a county in California was sent to me to review.  On it, all the propositions were listed out with a "yes" or a "no" bubble beneath it.  All of them, except for Proposition 37.  You simply can not vote for it if you received this ballot.

In the past few weeks, we've seen intimidation in our election.  We've seen Latina registration workers spat upon and threatened.  And this past weekend we saw police dispatched, and on constant roving patrol, at precincts in Columbus, Ohio. Just yesterday, officials refused to hand out ballots in Miami.  Voters protested and there were reports that as they protested, some voters' cars were towed away.
In the past few weeks, we've seen untrained poll workers and not enough voting machines.  Long lines of voters in communities of color waiting for up to 8 or 9 hours, just to early vote in our election — some of which were told that if they can't wait for hours, than they shouldn't be voting in the first place.  
In the past few weeks, letters have been showing up in voters' mailboxes in Ohio, Arizona and other states, telling voters they have suddenly been "deactivated" or that they need to defend their eligibility to vote because it is suddenly in question.  Poll workers are asking for IDs in states in which illegal to ask for ID.  And often, the voters facing these problems are people who have voted consecutively in nearly every election they could since being eligible to do so.
All of that is in addition to over 100 voter suppression laws that have been introduced in 30 states across America in the lead up to this election.  Nate Silver says that the new voter Ids, alone, could negatively impact turnout in some states by up to 2.4%.
And that's not to mention the fact that an entire organization has organized thousands of volunteers across our country with one intent: to go into communities and challenge everyday citizens' right to vote tomorrow.
This is not acceptable in America.  This is not acceptable in OUR election.
So what are we going to do about it tomorrow?
One thing you can do, is join VideoTheVote.org's efforts to deploy thousands of citizen journalists across the country tomorrow.
All you have to do is take a moment today to help us spread the word in whatever way you can, so that everyone you know will understand that when you #GoVote be ready to #VideoTheVote.
If you see a problem at your polling place, be ready to pull out your smart phone, switch it to video mode, document what happens, talk to other folks who may have witnessed the incident, and record the situation.  
Then simply share your content on your social media account — YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Ustream — by tagging it #VideoTheVote
It is important to use this tag so that our team can find these stories and push them out to the media in as close to real time as possible, so that the full story of Election Day, and so that the full story of the voters, is told tomorrow.  
You can also use a traditional camera and upload your footage directly to the www.videothevote.org site where you will also find shooting guides, brief training tutorials and recent reports from around the country. We must work together to collect evidence of each and every time a citizen's right to vote is trampled upon — because even in 2012, that right is not a given.  The evidence we collect tomorrow will not only document this election for future generations, it will be used to continue the fight to protect the right to vote in every election to come.
Matt Pascarella is the Project Director of Video the Vote and an award-winning freelance researcher, writer and producer.