Statement of Laurel Bellows, President, _ Re: Role of Lawyers in 2012 Election
The more than 117 million citizens who cast their votes and mailed in ballots on and before this Election Day took part in the enduring celebration of American democracy. Self-government is a participatory experience and voters demonstrated yet again that the United States is a nation dedicated to honest elections.
Lawyers joined their neighbors in embracing the opportunity to decide the future of our country and also volunteered at the polls to help communities conduct fair elections. The _ spearheaded the Lawyer as Citizen initiative to mobilize the legal community to serve on Election Day. Lawyers volunteered as election judges and official poll workers to confirm voter registration, explain how to complete ballots, and help the elderly and disabled to use voting machines.
Many lawyers also worked for both political campaigns as poll watchers. These lawyers fulfilled the important oversight role of inspecting polling sites, verifying voter instructions and reporting any election law violations. The diligent work of both poll workers and poll watchers should inspire confidence in the fairness of our electoral system.
And when eligible voters were turned away from the polls and long lines snaked around schoolyards in the waning hours of the chill November evening, lawyers were working to protect their neighbors’ right to vote. The ABA encouraged members to identify polling place problems and report those issues to the association. The association received almost 60 responses from voters and plans to conduct a review of problems identified at voting locations and offer a report and recommendations to avoid similar hardship in future elections.
As President Johnson said, “We preach the virtues of democracy abroad. We must practice its duties here at home. Voting is the first duty of democracy.” Lawyers and the ABA are proud to protect the right to vote so that citizens can perform their civic duty in exercising the greatest public trust.
(Media contact: Rob Boisseau, -1093, Robert.Boisseau@americanbar.org)
Please click here for a biography and photo of Laurel G. Bellows, president of the _.