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Hotline help available to minimize confusion over new voting districts

New district lines and split precincts can lead to confusion at the polls as early voting begins today. But three non-partisan organizations have teamed-up and launched a  special hotline to answer questions from voters throughout the primary election period.

The toll-free hotline is 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).

It will be operated by a public service program at the UNC School of Law in Chapel Hill, the voting-rights group Democracy North Carolina, and the national Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, headquartered in Washington, DC.

Here’s more from the groups’ press release:

“Hotline organizers are especially concerned that the large number of changes in district lines can create confusion for voters in 2012. Many voters have been placed in new districts, and about two million live in hundreds of precincts that are divided between two different state House, state Senate or Congressional districts. That means they will receive a different ballot from some of their neighbors who vote at the same precinct.

Among the counties most affected by the split precincts are Wake, Durham,Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth, Cumberland, Buncombe, Union, Johnston, Pitt, Nash,Craven, Wilson, Wayne, Lenoir, Robeson, Hoke, Richmond, Scotland, Greene, Granville, Lee, and Pasquotank counties. Voters should be vigilant and ensure they are getting the correct ballot with their correct candidates, hotline organizers said.

“We recommend that voters look up their ballot before going to vote,” said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina. “That will help them become familiar with their candidate choices and also alert them if they receive a different ballot at the polling place.”

In addition to co-sponsoring the hotline, Democracy North Carolina has launched a new website that answers a wide variety of questions and shows voters how to review their ballot and find Early Voting sites in their county.

The website is www.NCElectionConnection.com. The organization will also answer questions it receives on its year-round hotline, which is 888-OUR-VOTE.

“With so many changes in districts, precincts and candidate choices, we encourage voters to prepare themselves,” said Hall. “We hope everything goes smoothly, but we also want to know if there are problems and help get them resolved.”

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