You have a right to vote. Whenever you go to vote in-person or submit an absentee ballot (including via an election dropbox), you shouldn’t be made to feel unsafe or intimidated while exercising your fundamental rights. Your voice and your vote matter.
This is particularly important when Donald Trump says he is sending law enforcement personnel to the polls on Election Day to guard against what he says is voter fraud. This despite not providing any proof that voter fraud has taken place or is placed in November.
Voter intimidation is against the law. It’s important to know that you shouldn’t hesitate to speak up and seek help if something doesn’t feel right. Voting should be stress-free. If something feels off, trust your gut. There are resources available to help you and answer your questions.
Here’s more information about voter intimidation and how to get help:
Voter Intimidation Is Against the Law. What Is It? And How Can You Recognize It?
Voter intimidation is a federal crime. Federal law says it is illegal to “intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose.” Many state laws protect voters from intimidation, too.
The ACLU provides a list of examples of voter intimidation. Some examples of voter intimidation include:
- Aggressively questioning voters about their citizenship, criminal record or other qualifications to vote.
- Aggressively questioning voters about their political choices.
- Spreading false information about voter requirements.
- Falsely representing oneself as an election official.
- Physically blocking polling places.
- Displaying false or misleading signs about voter fraud and related criminal penalties.
- Using threatening language in or near a polling place.
- Yelling at people or calling people names while they are in line to vote.
- Disrupting or interrogating voters.
- Looking over people’s shoulders while they are voting.
- Photographing or videotaping voters without permission or in a harassing manner.
- Other forms of harassment, particularly harassment targeting non-English speakers and voters of color.