BigLaw hosts election hotlines while students and lawyers monitor polls

Election Law

Updated: Nearly a hundred of the nation’s top law firms and corporate law departments are volunteering for an “election protection” program run by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. One law firm reported Tuesday afternoon that its call center is receiving several calls about election irregularities.

Lawyers are serving as nonpartisan poll monitors while law firms are hosting 866-OUR VOTE hotline call centers, according to a Lawyers’ Committee press release[4] and coverage by the American Lawyer[5]. More than 4,000 lawyers are participating in the effort, along with law firm staff.

The hotline locations are at the Lawyers’ Committee offices and at 18 other sites nationwide.

A Kirkland & Ellis spokeswoman said in an email to the ABA Journal that its call center in Chicago has been flooded with calls since 5 a.m. on Tuesday. It is hearing about machine problems in the city and suburbs, and it’s causing some would-be voters to leave.

Kirkland’s New York call center is also hearing about “unusual voter registration issues” in Pennsylvania, including registrations paired with improper and sometimes nonexistent polling places.

The San Francisco call center is receiving a large number of calls from Arizona voters reporting issues with polling places being closed and equipment failures, the spokeswoman said.

Other large law firms participating in the Lawyers’ Committee’s election protection program include Venable; Dorsey & Whitney; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Drinker Biddle & Reath; and Reed Smith.

Law students also are serving as poll monitors throughout the country, Law.com[6] reports. Students at the University of Pennsylvania Law School took another tack. They helped patients at two Philadelphia hospitals fill out absentee ballot applications. The students then took the applications to city hall, obtained the absentee ballots, took them back to the patients, and then took the filled-out ballots to the election office.

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