4 Ways You Can Help Protect People at the Polls on Election Day
by Cassady Craighill
November 3, 2016
Everyone deserves to vote without harassment or bullying — here's how you can help make that happen.
Donald Trump has been talking a lot about rigged elections and voter fraud lately.
While we’re glad Donald brought it up — there are indeed a lot of issues with voting access — but the GOP candidate has it backwards. While there is no historical evidence of substantial voter fraud, the woman who was just arrested for voting twice for Trump in Iowa not withstanding, this will be the first presidential election year in which 15 states have new voting restrictions.
These restrictions primarily impact communities of color, the poor, students, and the elderly.
There is no voter fraud rigging the election against Trump, but there is serious voter oppression and lack of access to the polls for several communities and voters. In North Carolina, a key battleground state, there was only one early voting location in Guilford County, down from 16 in 2012. White nationalist websites and groups are vowing to send people out to “watch the polls” and touting ways in which they will keep African-Americans from voting.
Trump’s own campaign operative told the media that the campaign had multiple voter suppression operations.
Trump has campaigned on being a populist candidate — a man of the people. If that were true, Trump should be calling for increased voter access for all rather than normalizing bullying behavior at the polls.
We all deserve the right to vote without the fear of harassment and bullying, no matter which candidate and initiatives we support. You can help stop voter intimidation and making voting a positive experience for everyone on Tuesday — here’s how!
1. If you see something, say something!
If you encounter any issue at a polling place, during early voting or on Election Day, or if you are told you cannot vote, please call the national non-partisan Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE or 888-VE-Y-VOTA.
You can also contact the U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline at 800-253-3931 or local officials, including poll workers, elections commissioner, and your state board of elections.
2. Volunteer at a polling station.
What better way to make sure voting is a positive experience for everyone than volunteering on election day at a polling station? For so many, this is the first time they are casting a ballot. They should not be intimidated out of voting next time.
Find opportunities near you here.
3. Inspire young people to vote.
Votes from first-time and second-time voters are so critical, yet voter turnout is a recurring issue for this age group. Get involved with Rock the Vote and help young people get to the polls and take pride in their civic engagement.
4. Ensure access for all.
It is absolutely crucial that support is in place so that all people have the ability to cast their ballot on election day. This includes the help of bilingual poll workers who can help voters for whom English is a second language. It also includes accessibility and privacy for voters with disabilities.
Check with your local polling places to see how accessible your polling place is, and if you’re bilingual, volunteer to be a polling assistant!
And don’t forget to vote, yourself!