2022 Midterm Election: NAACP among groups watching polls for voter suppression 

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The NAACP Philadelphia Branch office is busier than ever. Among the dozens of people inside are volunteers answering literal cries for help. Your hotline takes place in one of the hottest battleground states of this election.

“This is definitely a battlefield,” said Catherine Hicks, president of the NAACP Philadelphia Branch of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

For the first time, the NAACP’s Philadelphia branch set up an election day command center, with Howard University law school students manning the phone lines.

Howard law student Bridget Warlea, a native of Philadelphia, was among those who answered incoming calls from troubled voters.

Election Day: Get your live 2022 midterm election results here

“Our student bar association started this initiative this year,” she said of the program, which sends Howard University students to other states to answer voter calls on Election Day.

It’s also a nationwide mission for the NAACP, which sent people to monitor the elections and answer voters’ calls for help. Several national NAACP leaders were on site at the Philadelphia branch, including Yolanda Melville, who is a member of the National Judiciary Committee and vice president of the Atlantic City branch.

“We’re really targeting different states where we think there’s going to be election protection issues,” she said. “This is nothing new for the national office. We did that every year. And Pennsylvania has always been a priority state.”

However, their work was nearly hampered by a late-night crime at the Philadelphia branch office.

“The wires were cut. Our cable wires and our phone wires,” Hicks said of the early morning discovery at her building.

“We’re not sure if this was some form of voter intimidation… (but) we were able to get a technician to fix it. And we’re up and running,” Hicks added.

The NAACP volunteers stood their ground, as did the Make the Road Pennsylvania volunteers.

“We’re making sure everyone registered to vote can actually vote today,” said Maegan Llerena, executive director of Make the Road PA.

As volunteers lined up outside polling stations in Northeast Philadelphia, they assisted Hispanic and Hispanic residents reporting voting difficulties or suppression.

“We’ve faced a lot of racism in elections,” Llerena said. “Election officials tell people the reason the lines are long is because their names are too long. Those people with Latino names.”

Some voters were surprised to find their polling stations had been moved. Others had very different problems.

“Even though (registered voters) have been voting at the same polling station for over a decade, they cannot find their name (on the electoral rolls),” Llerena said.

That’s why these groups are so focused on their work today, knowing that behind every voice is a voice.

“We want to make sure that anyone who wants to vote has the opportunity to do so,” Hicks said.

Voters who encounter problems can reach the NAACP hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE. Spanish-speaking voters can get help in Spanish by calling 1-866-VEY-VOTA (Los votantes de habla hispana pueden recibir ayuda en español llamando al 1-866-VE-Y-VOTA).

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https://6abc.com/2022-midterms-election-results-day-naacp-philadelphia/12430763/ 2022 Midterm Election: NAACP among groups watching polls for voter suppression 

Alley Einstein

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