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At the 'Ve y Vota' call center: Taking calls, questions, complaints since 3 a.m.

Taking calls at the
Taking calls at the "Ve y Vota" voter outreach campaign's call center tonight in South L.A.
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

It's been a long day, but not as long for most as it has been for some of the people staffing the "Ve y Vota" call center at the South L.A. headquarters of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, where calls from voters have been coming in since 3 a.m.

The phone bank, one of several around the country put together by the same team of advocacy and media groups as part of a voter outreach campaign, has been fielding calls as simple as "Where do I vote?" to calls about voter intimidation and rude poll workers, with complaints referred to volunteer attorneys.

So far, the complaints coming in to this particular call center - which has been taking calls from around the country (with some phone staffers in since before dawn) and will be open until midnight - have been relatively minimal, with the most excitement surrounding media reports of Spanish-language "robocalls" and mailers advising recipients to vote a day late. So far, the only thing confirmed by staffers has been a bilingual flyer in New York state with a Nov. 3 date in the Spanish translation, said Gladys Negrete, a data analyst with the NALEO Educational Fund.

There have been reports of aggressive electioneering, including one from Arizona where voters were shouted at and called names, but no physical altercations have yet been reported to the center. Most interesting, however, has been the nature of some of the questions.

"Callers have been asking more about the propositions, the judges," Negrete said. "Before it was more like, 'Am I registered?' I've only seen this in this election cycle."

One reason might be the growing influence and reach of Spanish-language media outlets, who have greatly expanded their coverage this election season. Workers at the call center can't offer advice on how to vote, but have been explaining the measures from the information in voter pamphlets, she said.

The call center is one of several around the country put together by NALEO and its partners in the long-running "Ya Es Hora" (Now is the Time) national voter outreach campaign, which includes advocacy groups such as the National Council of La Raza and media companies like the Univision network and ImpreMedia, which operates La Opinión.