Standing Against Voter Intimidation - An Organizing Guide

October 25, 2016
Liberty Tree

This year, a major candidate is calling for supporters to “watch” voters in “certain areas” to ensure the election is not “stolen” - even though it has been found that there is no real danger of voters committing election fraud. There is a very real danger, however, of white supremacists and racist law enforcement officials to use this call to action as an excuse to violently intimidate voters before and on election day. This organizing guide is a short compilation of information relevant to voters being targeted with intimidation and suppression tactics in order to best protect themselves and report illegal activity on Election Day. 

BEFORE Election Day

  • Vote early if possible to avoid crowds and attempts at voter suppression on Election Day.
    Resources:
    - Absentee and Early Voting from the National Conference of State Legislatures
    - Early Voting Calendar from Vote.org
    - Election Official Directory & State Voting Requirements & Information from U.S. Vote Foundation

  • Find out about voter ID laws in your state before visiting the polls.
    Resources:
    Voter ID Laws from Vote.org

  • Learn about local laws that apply to the polling place(s) you intend to visit in order to help defend voters rights against intimidation and suppression on Election Day.
    Resources:
    - A 50 State Guide to Photography & Polling Place Laws from the Center for Internet & Society for the Center for Citizen Media (2006)

  • Get information about who to contact if election officials are blocking voters from exercising their rights at a polling place.  
    Resources:
    - Polling place worker voter intimidation or disenfranchisement complaint: contact your county election board
    - County election board voter intimidation or disenfranchisement complaint: contact your state election board
    - Candidate supporters voter intimidation complaint: contact poll workers, local law enforcement, ACLU

  • Sign the petition calling for the federal government to protect voting rights!


ON Election Day

  • Do not listen to anyone who tells voters they cannot vote after they have entered the line because the polls are closing. Any voter who is in line while it is still voting time is allowed to vote, even if their ballot will not be cast until hours after the polls have “closed.”

  • Verify any information being shared with voters about a change in polling place. Do not automatically assume poll workers are correct, no matter what reason a voter is given to deter them from casting a ballot. Contact local election officials or use an online search engine to find the correct information. If you are unable to obtain the information you are looking for, call the ACLU Voter Protection Hotline at 877-523-2792.

  • Record all sightings or reports of voter intimidation in your area. If you are not legally allowed to take photos, video or audio of activity you would like to report, write an account of the report on a piece of paper for the most accurate recollection of details.

  • Ask people in your local area to share their experiences of voter intimidation and record to share with the national network.

  • Invite people to local Voter Assembly to share election day experiences - no Voter Assembly in your area? Organize one!

  • Consider visiting polling places in groups in order to deter vote suppressors and a support group of witnesses to record potential voter intimidation tactics.  

  • Contact the ACLU Voter Protection Hotline at 877-523-2792 or 1-866-OUR-VOTE or Tweet to @866OurVote to share information about voter intimidation or suppression activities the day you vote.

  • Report any voter intimidation, suppression or election fraud directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, DC by phone at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767, by fax at (202) 307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov, or by complaint form at http://www.justice.gov/crt/complaint/votintake/index.php.


AFTER Election Day

  • Share all reports of voter intimidation, voter suppression or election fraud with local Voter Assembly.

  • File an Election Complaint Report to communicate any possible violations of federal voting rights laws to the Department of Justice.