New ABA ‘Lawyer As Citizen’ Initiative And Website Encourage Lawyers to Volunteer on Election Day
CHICAGO, Aug. 6, 2012 — The American Bar Association’s “Lawyer as Citizen” campaign encouraging lawyers to volunteer at the polls in the November election kicks off at the ABA Annual Meeting Aug. 2-7 in Chicago. At the panel “Lawyer as Citizen: Assisting in the Administration of Elections,” the ABA rolled out a new site, www.ambar.org/vote, a resource for lawyers who want to become more involved in the electoral process.
The ABA believes that lawyers can play an important and necessary role in the administration of elections. Organizers of the initiative hope that encouraging lawyers to serve as official nonpartisan poll workers will help enhance the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law as it pertains to elections.
Another motivation behind the initiative is the critical need for volunteers to work the polls. There is “a shortage of citizens willing to act as election officials on Election Day,” said Jack Young, chair of the Lawyer as Citizen Initiative and co-chair of the Advisory Commission to the ABA Standing Committee on Election Law. “Lawyers can play a significant role in the voting process by serving as these officials. … The ABA’s ‘Lawyer as Citizen’ program seeks to fill the gap in the number of election officials and thereby work to improve our electoral system.”
Lawyers who want to volunteer can look to the new “ABA Vote” website to find their polling places in several steps that include selecting the state as well as county or city to arrive at the local election website. Local election sites list the requirements and duties of serving as a poll worker and may allow the registration process to begin online.
The ABA Vote site provides a “quick and easy means for lawyers to register and be qualified to serve [as poll workers] in compliance with the specific requirements of their local jurisdiction,” said Benjamin Griffith, chair of the Standing Committee on Election Law. Griffith recently released the second edition of America Votes! A Guide to Modern Election Law and Voting Rights, which provides key information and perspective on election-law questions that the courts are now addressing or will soon be considering.
“Let’s give real meaning to service and take an active role” in this election, Griffith said.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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