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Texas State NAACP Voter Protection Plan

By Floyd Miller



The Texas NAACP is launching an Election Protection Program. The purpose of the program will be to ensure that eligible voters are able to vote and that unreasonable impediments have not been put in their place {{more}}NAACP State President Gary Bledsoe said that with problems encountered in the past by African-American voters in Texas we are on alert to efforts to intimidate Black voters in this upcoming election season. Bledsoe said prior hearings and investigative efforts yielded voter suppression efforts throughout Texas where the techniques utilized included the use of off duty police officers, threats placed in African-American Newspapers regarding arrest warrant round ups at the polls, not providing adequate ballots at minority polling places, not following state law and allowing the casting of challenged ballots among many others. Attorney Robert Notzon who Chairs the State NAACP Legal Redress Committee will spearhead this volunteer effort at the State Election Central Office in Austin. Notzon said that persons are asked to call one of the following numbers if they encounter any difficulty voting or encounter anything they believe to be suspicious: 1-866-OURVOTE or 1-866-888-8771 . Bledsoe said the former number is a number for a coalition with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the NAACP and other non-profit groups which is intended to address these issues nationwide. Notzon added that one of the complaints we have received relates to voting machines inaccurately reflecting the intended votes of voters, which he said presents a major problem. Notzon urged voters to double check their votes on electronic voting machines before casting the ballot. Bledsoe said this is one reason why we think paper ballot backups are essential to guarantee integrity in these processes and noted that when he was an official observer of the Venezuelan election last year that they had that kind of check and balance in place and it worked extremely well.The NAACP has also been working with the Secretary of State’s office to try and ensure that as many displaced residents of Galveston County can vote. NAACP Hurricane Ike Task Force Director Gene Collins said that his group has distributed about 2500 absentee ballot applications to displaced residents of Hurricane Ike, and that their group along with Houston area churches will be offering rides to the polls for displaced Galveston residents who cannot afford the trip to Galveston to vote if they are currently in the Houston area.Should you have further questions about the news release contact Yannis Banks or Cheryse Phillips at 512-322-9547 or 512-322-9992, and for information about how you can help or to make complaints about voter suppression or intimidation please do not hesitate to contact Yannis Banks, Robert Notzon or Gary Bledsoe at 322-9547, 1-866-888-8771 or email at ybanks@texasnaacp.orgDisplaced Galveston voters can call 1-866-888-8771 and ask for Cheryse Phillips, Carol Moore, Shirley Fanuiel or Gene Collins. This current election cycle has yielded complaints such as a warrant round up in Bell County during the crucial election cycle, intimidation efforts directed towards Prairie View students in Waller County , and a host of complaints in Dallas County including inadequate parking at vote locations, city services presenting obstacles to voting, early voting officials interfering in the legitimate exercise of rights in the early voting area and acts of verbal intimidation by election officials and others, according to Dallas Branch President Casey Thomas. Thomas may be contacted at or through the secretary at The State NAACP and the Dallas Branch of the NAACP will have coordinated news conferences on Wednesday the 29th of October at 4:00 o’clock. The State Conference News Conference will be at the Speaker’s Committee Room at 4:00 o’clock on Wednesday and the Dallas Branch News Conference will be at Oak Cliff Sub Courthouse, 14 S. Beckley Avenue.

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