Voter Intimidation

Spotting The Difference Between Poll Watching And Potential Voter Intimidation by NBC News Now
(Click to watch, 5:26)

What is Voter Intimidation? (ACLU)

Federal law says that “no person … shall intimidate, threaten, coerce … any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of [that] person to vote or to vote as he may choose.” Many states have their own laws prohibiting voter intimidation

Voter intimidation is rare and unlikely. But if someone is attempting to interfere with your or anyone’s right to vote, it may be voter intimidation and a violation of federal law.

Examples of intimidation may include:

  • aggressively questioning voters about their citizenship, criminal record, or other qualifications to vote , in a manner intended to interfere with the voters’ rights
  • falsely presenting oneself as an elections official
  • spreading false information about voter requirements, such as an ability to speak English, or the need to present certain types of photo identification (in states with no such requirement)
  • displaying false or misleading signs about voter fraud and the related criminal penalties
  • other harassment, particularly toward non-English speakers and voters of color

What to Do if You Experience Voter Intimidation:

  • Report intimidation to:
    • Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español).
    • U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline: 800-253-3931; TTY line 877-267-8971
    • Local and state officials, including poll workers; your county clerk, elections commissioner, elections supervisor; or your state board of elections
  • File a Voter Complaint with the California Secretary of State
  • Fact Sheet: Protecting Against Voter Intimidation (Georgetown Law Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection)

Voter Intimidation Informational Video

NBC explanation of voter intimidation (Click to watch, 1:58)

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