Common Cause New York Ramps Up Election and Voter Protection Operation Ahead of Election Day

Common Cause New York focusing voter protection efforts on neighborhoods with large Muslim populations after recent nationwide Islamaphobic rhetoric

NEW YORK, NY (11/07/2016)(readMedia)-- As millions of voters in New York prepare to vote this coming Election Day, Common Cause New York, a member of the Election Protection Network, is working to make sure that voters in ethnically diverse communities are protected from intimidation practices as well as ensure that polling locations across the state are staffed with trained volunteer poll monitor.

As hateful and politically motivated rhetoric against the Muslim community continues during this election season, Common Cause New York is working to prevent voter intimidation and disenfranchisement in communities with large Muslim populations. As part of this effort, Common Cause New York is hosting poll monitor trainings the weekend before Election Day in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn as well as Jamaica in Queens.

Common Cause New York has also partnered with the Muslim Community Network. The Muslim Community Network, which works to increase civic engagement among the greater Muslim community, is organizing Arabic and Bengali speakers to be poll monitor in order to assist Muslim voters at the polls.

"Voter intimidation has no place in New York, period," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York. "We are witnessing hateful and harmful rhetoric in this election, especially against the Muslim community. Muslim voters should not have to fear for their safety when they go to exercise their right to vote on Election Day. Common Cause New York is proud to work with the Muslim Community Network to ensure that Muslim voters feel safe when heading to the polls on Election Day."

"The Muslim Community Network is well positioned to partner with Common Cause on poll monitoring given our citywide reach within the racially and ethnically diverse communities of New York City," said Dr. Debbie Almontaser, President of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Community Network. "We are proud of this effort to help each American Muslim to exercise their right to vote.

Common Cause New York is also partnering with The Black Car Assistance Corporation (BCAC), which is providing free and safe transportation on Election Day to poll monitors and members of the Muslim community. The BCAC is generously donating three cars for the day as part of the effort. The cars will be available in and around several neighborhoods with large Muslim populations, including Bay Ridge, Kensington and Astoria. A majority of the BCAC's membership is Muslim.

Additionally, Common Cause New York is organizing and training volunteers across the state to be poll monitors on Election Day. Common Cause New York has organized over 230 poll monitors statewide and is holding a total of 14 trainings in various locations around the state. Poll monitors are responsible for ensuring voters are properly guided on voting protocol, reporting results, and troubleshooting any problems that may arise at the poll site. Common Cause New York will have volunteers located statewide, and monitors located in non-New York City areas will be placed where there are heavily contested state and federal races.

In partnership with the New York Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause New York is conducting poll monitor trainings across the state with locations in Manhattan, Kingston in Ulster County, Rochester in Monroe County, Central Islip in Suffolk County, and Hempstead in Nassau County.

Common Cause New York also has a mobile-friendly website called PollWatch, which allows voters to report problems at the polls. The website will available throughout New York State in English and Spanish. Voters can go to to report their experience at the polls. Once a polling location has been identified and the problem has been submitted, election protection workers at Common Cause New York will review the form and then relay the information to the national Election Protection effort and, if necessary, the local Board of Elections. All reports received will be later reviewed to determine trends and further action. Additionally, PollWatch will make public, through their website, a live geo-mapping program showing locations of complaints at the polls that voters have submitted. The map can be viewed here: