What To Do (and NOT Do) re Voter Intimidation at the Polls
By janet jai, MLA
vision-and-values.com

(Feel free to forward.)


If you see or experience voter intimidation at the polls:

1. Call the Election Protection Hotline 1-866-OUR VOTE (866-687-8683) to get immediate help from a nonpartisan Election Protection volunteer. The Hotline is administered by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. (Spanish/Espanol, 888-VE-Y-VOTA. Asian, 888-API-VOTE. Arabic, 844-YALLA-US. American Sign Language video, 301-818-VOTE. Or text OUR VOTE to 97779.)

In your call, tell what is happening: when and where, who is involved, what they are doing that is intimidating or threatening, any clothing or signs they are carrying that might help identify them, and whether any voters are being deterred from voting.

There may also be Election Protection Volunteers at or near your polling place (sponsored by Common Cause nationwide plus B-PEP The Black Political Empowerment Project in Pittsburgh). The volunteers will be wearing jerseys that boldly say Election Protection and the Hotline number 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Call one of them over if you need voting help of any kind.

2. Report voter intimidation to election officials (the Judge of Elections) in the polling place. Election officials are empowered to maintain order in (and usually near) their polling place. If they are unresponsive, you can contact county or state election officials or the stateís Attorney General.

3. You can also call the U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline 1-800-253-3931; TTY line 877-267-8971.

4. Specific Situations

If your qualifications to vote are challenged: In many states you can give a sworn legal statement that you are qualified to vote and then cast a regular ballot.

If you are told youíre not on the list of registered voters: Ask poll workers to check supplemental lists, and the county elections office or the statewide system if available. If they canít find you, ask for a provisional ballot. All voters are entitled to a provisional ballot (which election officials will review after Election Day to see if you are qualified and registered).

If there is violence where your or another personís health or safety is at risk, call 911. (But remember that the presence of law enforcement can be intimidating to voters, and the goal is to have a nonthreatening atmosphere so that voters can simply and safely vote.)

Document and report but generally do NOT confront. If you feel safe, you can try to de-escalate a situation, but do NOT intervene if doing so would be dangerous for you or others or might escalate tensions. Instead document and report voter intimidation to all above and to the County District Attorney, who has the authority to prosecute.

Do NOT photograph voters in or near the polls. This can be seen as Voter Intimidation. Even people you are trying to help may not want to be photographed. And photography inside or near the polling place may be illegal.

Do NOT post what is happening on social media (or consider carefully before deciding). Publicizing voter intimidation can cause alarm and make others afraid of going to the polls. This is what those who are trying to intimidate voters want to happen.

If you are nervous about voting, make a plan to go to the polls or drop off your mail-in ballot together with family, friends, your church group, or others.

For your sake, your childrenís sake, the sake of everyone you love, VOTE!

This list includes information gathered from 866ourvote, aclu, advancement project, b-pep, brennan center, campaign legal, common cause, everytown law, Georgetown law, lwv, and jaiís 20 years of research and writing about voting issues.

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