PHILADELPHIA- For the second consecutive national election cycle, the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government will track voter complaints during the November elections with the 1-866-MyVote1 national hotline. Leading political analysts have concluded that many key races, especially in Congress, could be very tight this year with the integrity of the voting process significantly affecting the results. This national, non-partisan hotline will help voters determine how they can cast their ballots and help analysts quickly identify potential trouble spots that could tip the electoral balance.
Under the Fels system:
MSNBC and its affiliates, which began advertising the MyVote1 hotline Oct. 25, will report voter complaints on Election Day.
The hotline will automatically provide voters with their poll locations and can transfer callers to their local elections boards for further assistance. The system prompts voters to leave a voice message describing their voting problems.
Graduate students working for the Fels Institute will track calls and recordings and disseminate them to members of the MyVote1 Consortium to respond to developing problems in real-time.
In 2004, the 1-866-MyVote1 Election Hotline demonstrated how automated technology could help large numbers of voters while also generating data that can be used to diagnose problems with the current election system. The hotline received more than 200,000 calls; provided information about more than 100,000 polling locations; transferred 96,000 calls to local boards of Election; and recorded more than 55,000 voter complaints. An additional 3 million hits were received on the poll locator website, www.mypollingplace.com. In comparison, the Federal Election Assistance Commission hotline only received 700 calls, none of which was recorded. Following the election, the Fels Institute released the "MyVote1 National Election Report: Voice of the Electorate 2004," the first data report of its kind in election history.
The full report from Penn's Fels Institute of Government is available at www.fels.upenn.edu/fgrs_reports.htm. Project data were also incorporated into the Carter Baker Commissions landmark election reform report. Following this years' elections, Fels will again publish and disseminate its findings to local election officials, media, policy makers and activists as part of an effort to drive the election-reform debate.
MyVote1 is funded by the Carnegie Corporation and is supported by a consortium of non-partisan advocacy groups and academic institutions, including the Fels Institute, Common Cause, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the Service Employees International Union, the Reform Institute and We Care America. InfoVoter Technologies and Chesapeake Enterprises are providing the helpline technology, and NBC News is the project's promotional partner.