Call it out!

You shouldn’t hesitate to speak up and seek help if something doesn’t feel right or you sense someone else is being intimidated. Voting should be stress-free, if not joyful. Call-out to the great people behind ‘Joy to the Polls,” including this group and these great dancers.

If you think you’re encountering or witnessing voter intimidation, call one of these numbers to get help and advice from a trained election protection volunteer. Take pictures or videos, and send them to SeeSay2020.com

Take a moment to program one or more of these numbers into your phone before you head to the polls.

Election Protection Hotlines

Voter intimidation site: seesay2020.com

Make your phone look something like this, so you can help others, as well.

What is SeeSay2020.com?

Shine daylight on voter suppression.  All voters can report voting problems at SeeSay2020.com – they are published to a national map and acted on as needed. Follow @SeeSay2020 on Twitter and seesay_2020 on Instagram – spread the word so that everyone knows they have this option.  #SeeSay2020 #PhonesUp.  SeeSay2020 was developed by DemLabs and Reclaim Our Vote, and staffed by Reclaim Our Vote volunteers.

Remember – the only qualifications to voting is that the voter be a U.S. citizen, 18 years old on the day they vote and in CA, not being on parole.

Not ethnicity. Not race. Not religion. Not hearing. Not vision. Not IQ. Not height. Not mobility. Not the ability to speak English. Many states require voters to present a photo ID when voting, but not all.  

Another important reminder: Most states restore voting rights for citizens with past felony convictions after they have completed their sentences. Have a past felony conviction and wondering if you’re eligible to vote? Visit the ACLU’s website RestoreYourVote.org to see if you’re able to have your rights restored and able to register to vote. In CA, a voter is eligible after any parole requirements are finished, even if they are on probation, mandatory supervision, post-release community release, or federal supervised release. 

Voter intimidation is a crime.

Voter intimidation is a serious crime, in fact, it’s a felony if it includes threats of force or actual force. The ACLU provides a list of examples of voter intimidation. Some examples of voter intimidation include: 

  • Challenging voters’ right to vote.
  • 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, including need to present certain types of photo identification. 
  • 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. 
  • Claiming that that the ability to speak English is an eligibility requirement to vote;
  • 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. 
  • Assault, batter, threats of violence, brandishing of weapons.
  • Showing up in a law-enforcement uniform, or shirts, hats or other displays indicating a person is with “Election Security” or similar organization, and/or is armed, except for very specific exemptions.

In addition: Intentionally misinforming a potential voter about the coronavirus or laws and ordinances related to the coronavirus in order to discourage or intimidate them from voting is a felony.

“Well, there’s no law against what I’m doing…”

Well, at least in CA, there are several, because the intimidater is actually robbing an American of an implicit right. Here are some of our state’s laws.

18540.  (a) Every person who makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence, or tactic of coercion or intimidation, to induce or compel any other person to vote or refrain from voting at any election or to vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or measure at any election, or because any person voted or refrained from voting at any election or voted or refrained from voting for any particular person or measure at any election is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years.

18543.  (a) Every person who knowingly challenges a person’s right to vote without probable cause or on fraudulent or spurious grounds, or who engages in mass, indiscriminate, and groundless challenging of voters solely for the purpose of preventing voters from voting or to delay the process of voting, or who fraudulently advises any person that he or she is not eligible to vote or is not registered to vote when in fact that person is eligible or is registered, or who violates Section 14240, is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 12 months or in the state prison. (b) Every person who conspires to violate subdivision (a) is guilty of a felony.

Most people remember the rule that electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place is illegal in CA.

You can’t wear anything with a candidate’s NAME or a specific ballot measure on it to the polls. In CA, that includes campaign apparel, buttons, stickers, or placards (all states’ rules here.) Yes, poll workers can send you home to change. You can also be charged with a misdemeanor.

18541.  (a) No person shall, with the intent of dissuading another person from voting, within 100 feet of a polling place, do any of the following:

  • (1) Solicit a vote or speak to a voter on the subject of marking his or her ballot.
  • (2) Place a sign relating to voters’ qualifications or speak to a voter on the subject of his or her qualifications except as provided in Section 14240.
  • (3) Photograph, videotape, or otherwise record a voter entering or exiting a polling place.
    • (b) Any violation of this section is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 12 months, or in the state prison.
  • Any person who conspires to violate this section is guilty of a felony.
    • (c) For purposes of this section, 100 feet means a distance of 100 feet from the room or rooms in which voters are signing the roster and casting ballots.

Know your rights as a voter.

  • If the polls close while you’re still in line, stay in line – you have the right to vote.
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one.
  • If the machines are down at your polling place, ask for a paper ballot.
  • If you run into any problems or have questions on Election Day, call the Election Protection Hotline:
    • English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683
    • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682
    • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US / 1-844-925-5287
    • For Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683

For more issues, like your name not being on the rolls, disability access issues, English comprehension issues, voter interference, go here.

More interesting resources

  • “NO” TO MILITIAS: The Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center has created fact sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drive. 
  • LIMITS ON INTERFERENCE: The Brennan Center for Justice has created a resource explaining the strict limits on interfering at the polls – from the U.S. military, the DOJ and the State Dept., down through state and local law enforcement and ending at the lone-wolf vigilante who lives next door.

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