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Straight Ticket Voting Can Lead to Confusion at the Polls

November 1, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 31, 2012

Voters are encouraged to make a voting checklist to be fully prepared for any unexpected event on Election Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Election Protection has become aware of some confusion regarding straight-ticket voting around the country. With rumors spreading about voters having to take certain actions to ensure their votes will count, it is necessary to set the record straight.

Thirteen states allow straight-ticket voting for the November 6th general election, and in all of them except North Carolina, a straight-ticket vote will register a vote for the Presidential candidate in that party.

Voters in Texas should be aware that when you cast a straight ticket vote, it includes a vote for the presidential race. Therefore after casting a straight ticket vote, voters should not then attempt to register another vote as it will cause a no vote in the race. Put simply, if you vote straight ticket Republican, it will include a vote for Mitt Romney. If you vote straight ticket Democrat, it will include a vote for Barack Obama.

However, in North Carolina the situation is very different. Voters will need to register a vote in the Presidential election separately for their vote to count in that race.

Remember that voting straight ticket will not include ballot initiatives or non-partisan races. If you vote straight ticket, make sure to look at these races as they include important ballot initiatives, judicial races and other measures.

To be aware of exactly what you're voting for, voters should always check over their ballot before officially casting it. Voters are also encouraged to bring their official sample ballots into the polling booth with them. If voters are confused by straight-ticket voting, they should vote for the individual races to ensure accuracy.

"Have a voting plan ready before you head to the polls," said Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. "Before you go to vote, know where your polling location is, what time the hours are to vote, what identification you need and how you plan to vote." Voters should call Election Protection's nonpartisan Hotline with any questions or problems voting at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)."

When it does comes time to vote, voters need to make sure everything is accurate on their ballot before casting it. "Don't rush," said Dara Lindenbaum, associate counsel for the Lawyers' Committee's Voting Rights Project. "Make sure your vote is fully counted."

Election Protection is the nation's largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition, led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Through its 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline (1-866-687-8683), smartphone application and other resources, and dedicated team of legal experts and trained volunteers, Election Protection helps all American voters, including traditionally disenfranchised groups, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting, offering live assistance. The coalition has more than 100 partners - including the NAACP, National Bar Association, Native Vote, Asian-American Justice Center, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Education Fund, New Organizing Institute, Rock the Vote, Verified Voting Foundation, National Education Association and the Brennan Center for Justice - at the national, state and local level and is providing voter protection services now through Election Day for all 50 states.

For more information about Election Protection, the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline and the smartphone application, please visit: www.866ourvote.org.

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