Labor launches election ‘protection,’ GOTV efforts in Colorado

A coalition of nonprofit groups, the AFL-CIO and election attorneys is working to protect the vote in Colorado and eight other battleground states.

Rachele Huennekens, a spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, says the coalition of groups is implementing a three-part strategy centering around education, communicating with election officials and providing assistance outside of polling locations.

“We passed out 10,000 Spanish-language bill of rights which were produced by the AFL-CIO,” Huennekens says. “The voter protection representatives also met with the Pueblo County election officials and got them to agree to send out an absentee ballot application to every registered voter in the county.”

More than two dozen volunteers will also be standing outside polling places in Denver and Pueblo, helping to answer questions about voting issues and passing out bottles of water.

“We’re also targeting specific places that have high minority populations that we think many be more vulnerable perhaps to voter intimidation,” says Huennekens.

At the same time, labor in the state is also taking part in what the AFL-CIO has called the “largest ever union get-out-the-vote drive” in history.

“We’re knocking on members’ doors and we’re calling right now,” says Mike Cerbo, head of the Colorado AFL-CIO. “We’re just kind of making sure everybody gets their vote counted.”

Union members and their supporters — including a total of 250,000 volunteers — are operating in 20 presidential battleground states like Colorado to get out the vote.

The volunteers have already made 70 million phone calls and knocked on 10 million doors for Barack Obama, and higher totals are expected by the end of Election Day.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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