Helpful election and voting information and websites
- Find your district and your polling place
- Register to vote
- Check your registration status
- Vote by Mail
- Learn how to become a poll worker.
Federal Voting Assistance Program
This website helps you to vote if your are a US Citizen, or in the US military living abroad and want to vote in your state's election.
Here are the four basic steps you have to take to vote in your state's election.
Here is how to register if you are a California resident.
for Los Angeles County:
How to Register as an Absentee Voter:
- Online: California Online Voter Registration or Federal Voting Assistance Program
- Download and complete the voter registration form from the California Secretary of State and do one of the following:
- Email a scanned form to [email protected].
- Fax the form to (562) 462-2354.
- Mail the form to:
Voter Records Division
P.O. Box 30450
Los Angeles, CA 90030-0450
For more information, call (800) 815-2666 Option 2.
Re-register when you:
- Change address
- Change name
- Change political party
If you have been discharged from the military or are not living outside of the territorial limits of the United States or D.C., you should re-register to vote using a regular application in your home state.
California Secretary of State:
The Elections Division of the official government agency which oversees all federal and state elections within California. The Secretary of State prints the Official Voter Information Guide. It is a great tool for learning about what is on your state ballot.
MapLight is a non-partisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics.
They research and compile data about the sources of campaign contributions in U.S. presidential, congressional, state, and local ballot and candidate elections. They provide journalists and citizens with transparency tools that connect data on campaign contributions, politicians, legislative votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence never before possible to see. These tools allow users to gain unique insights into how campaign contributions affect policy so they can draw their own conclusions about how money influences our political system.
League of Women Voters of Los Angeles:
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It helps shape public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters never supports or opposes any political party or candidate.
The League of Women Voters operates at three levels: local, state and national.
The League of Women Voters of Los Angeles (LWVLA) is a local League that performs two separate and distinct roles:
- Voters Service/Citizen Education: present unbiased non-partisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues.
- "Action/Advocacy": are non-partisan, but, after study, we may use our positions to advocate in the public interest for or against particular policies or ballot measures.
Absentee ballot - a mailable paper ballot that is used by voters who will not be able to vote (or choose not to vote) at their home precinct on election day (like military personnel stationed overseas). The voter mails the absentee ballot before election day and it is counted on election day.
Ballot - a piece of paper listing the candidates running for office. A ballot is used to cast a vote.
Ballot box - a box in which votes are placed.
Ballot initiative - also called a ballot measure, referendum or proposition. A ballot initiative is a proposed piece of legislation (a law) that people can vote on.
Bill of Rights - the Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution. These amendments were ratified on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights was proposed to ensure that individuals would have civil rights and could avoid the tyranny of an overly-powerful central government.
Bipartisan - supported by members of the two major political parties (the Democrats and the Republicans).
Bicameral - consisting of two legislative branches, like the US Congress, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Blanket primary - a primary election in which the names of all the candidates for all the parties are on one ballot.
Campaign - a series of political actions (like advertisements, public appearances, and debates) that are used to help a candidate get elected to office.
Candidate - a person who is running for an office.
Caucus - an informal meeting at which potential voters and candidates (or their representatives) talk about the issues and their preferred candidate, and then decide which candidate they support and which delegates to send to their political party's convention. Not every US state has caucuses.
Closed primary - a primary election in which only those voters who have registered as belonging to a particular political party can vote. For example, if it is a Republican primary election, only those people who are registered Republicans can vote (since that election is to choose the Republican candidate who will eventually run for office in the general election).
Congress - the US Congress, which makes the country's laws, is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are currently 100 Senators (2 from each state) and 435 members of the House of Representatives (Representatives are divided by population among the states, with each state having at least 1 representative).
Congressional district - an area within a state from which a member of the House of Representatives is elected. There are 435 Congressional districts. Each district has about 570,000 people. Seats (positions) in the House of Representatives are reapportioned every 10 years; since the number of Representatives is set to 435, some areas lose Representatives and others gain some.
Convention - an official meeting of the delegates of a political party at which they choose their candidates and decide upon their party platform.
Debate - A formal, public political discussion involving two or more candidates for office. In a debate, candidates state and defend their positions on major issues. Debates are often held in public places or are broadcast on radio, TV, and/or on the Internet.
Delegate - a person who is chosen to represent a local political party at a political convention.
Election - a process in which people vote to choose a leader or to decide an issue.
Electoral College - a group of people who formally elect the president of the USA (their vote happens after the popular vote). The Electoral College is composed of delegates from each state (plus the District of Columbia). (The number of delegates from each state is equal to the sum of that state's Senators plus Representatives.) According to the US Constitution, the electors (chosen by popular vote) assemble in their respective state capitals on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December and vote for president. Electors are supposed to vote for the candidate who received a plurality of votes in the state or area they represent. To become president, a candidate must get more than half of the Electoral College votes (270 out of 538 votes).
Executive branch - the part of the US government that administers the laws and other affairs of the government; it includes the President (also called the Chief Executive), the President's staff, executive agencies (the Office of Management and Budget, the National Security Council, etc.) and Cabinet departments (like the State Department, the Dept. of Defense, the Dept. of Agriculture, etc.).
Exit poll - an informal poll taken as people leave the voting booth. Exit polls are used to predict the outcome of the election before the polls are closed.
Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - a law passed in 1971 (and amended in 1974, 1976 and 1979) that limits the financing of campaigns for federal elections. The law requires that candidates and their political committees let the public know who gives them money and how they spend that money. The law also regulates the public funding of presidential elections.
Front runner - a front runner is the political candidate who looks as though he/she is winning.
General election - an election that is being held throughout the country on the same day.
Gerrymandering - a process in which a voting district is broken up or the physical boundaries of a voting district are changed in order to make it easier for one political party to win future elections. The term gerrymander was coined in 1812 when a county in Massachusetts was redistricted into a salamander-like shape by Gov. Elbridge Gerry for political purposes. His last name was combined with the word salamander to get "gerrymander."
House of Representatives - the House of Representatives is part of Congress; they propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are 435 members of the House of Representatives (divided by population among the states, with each state having at least 1 representative). There are 435 Congressional districts. Each district has about 570,000 people. Seats (positions) in the House of Representatives are reapportioned every 10 years; since the number of Representatives is set to 435, some areas lose Representatives and others gain some. Representatives are elected to a term of 2 years.
Incumbent - a person who is currently in office.
Independent - a person who is not associated with any political party.
Judicial branch - The part of the US government that settles disputes and administers justice. The judicial branch is made up of the court system, including US District Courts, many Federal courts, the US Court of Appeals (also called the Federal Circuit Courts), and the Supreme Court.
Legislative branch - the part of the US government that makes the laws and appropriates funds. The Legislative Branch includes the US House of Representative and Senate (plus congressional staffs and committees) plus support agencies (like the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, the Library of Congress, etc.).
Lobbyist - people who are associated with groups (like labor unions, corporations, etc.) and who try to persuade members of the government (like members of Congress) to enact legislation that would benefit their group.
Majority - more than half of the votes.
Matching funds - public money that is given to presidential candidates in an amount equal to the amount that they have raised privately. During the primary season (before the convention), candidates who use matching funds may get up to $250 in matching funds for each individual contribution they get. The matching funds are mostly financed by U.S. taxpayers (they can check a box to give $3.00 of their taxes when they pay their federal income taxes).
McCain-Feingold Law - also called the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It is a law that attempted to reduce the influence of people giving "soft money" to politicians. The law limits the amount of "soft money" that can be given to a political party and how much can be spent on political advertising. This law was named for its sponsors, John McCain, Republican Senator from Arizona, and Russell Feingold, Democratic Senator from Wisconsin.
Midterm election - a general election that does not coincide with a presidential election year, but occurs two years into the term of a president. In a midterm election, some members of the US Senate, all members of the House of Representatives, and many state and local positions are voted on.
Motor-Voter bill - a bill passed by Congress in 1993 that lets US citizens register to vote when they apply for a driver's license.
Open primary - a primary in which all registered voters can vote, regardless of which party they have registered under.
Platform - a formal written document that states a political party's stances on important issues and its goals for the future.
Plurality - in most elections, the person who gets more votes than anyone else is the winner (even if it isn't more than half of the votes). That person is said to have a plurality of the votes.
Political Action Committee (PAC) - PAC's are political groups that are not formally related to a particular political party, but are associated with other groups (like labor unions, corporations, etc.). PAC's try to influence elections and candidates by giving money to them so that they can later have laws passed that would favor their group.
Political party - an organized group of people with common values and goals, who try to get their candidates elected to office. The Democrats and the Republicans are the two major political parties in the USA today.
Politician - a person who is running for office or has won an election and is already in office.
Poll - a survey of people (usually voters) that is taken to find out which candidate or issue they might vote for.
Poll tax - money that must be paid in order to vote. There used to be poll taxes in some places in the USA; this tax kept many poor people from voting since they could not afford to pay the tax. The 24th Amendment to the Constitution (ratified in 1964) made poll taxes illegal.
Popular vote - the result of the votes of the eligible voters. The winner of the popular vote usually wins the election (but not always - sometimes the outcome of the vote of the Electoral College is different).
Precinct - the smallest geographic area in US voting subdivisions, in which local party officials are elected. A precinct usually has from 200 to 1,000 voters in it. Each precinct has an elected precinct captain (the neighborhood party leader). The purpose of a precinct is vote for a candidate and to elect delegates who will go to the city or county convention, and relay the precinct's vote for that candidate.
Primary election - an election that chooses a political party's candidate for office. The winning candidates from each party will later go up against each other in the general election.
Protest vote - a vote for a third party candidate (who is not likely to win) that is meant to show displeasure with the mainstream candidates or parties.
Redistricting - a process in which the physical boundaries of a voting district are changed.
Referendum - also called a ballot measure, initiative or proposition. A ballot initiative is a proposed piece of legislation (a law) that people can vote on.
Representative democracy - a government in which the adult citizens of the country vote to elect the country's leaders. These elected leaders make the governmental decisions.
Republican - a person who belongs to the Republican political party.
Republican Party - a major US political party also known as the G.O.P. (standing for the Grand Old Party). The symbol of the Republican party is the elephant. The Republican party was founded as an anti-slavery party in the mid 1800s. The first Republican US President was Abraham Lincoln.
Senate - the Senate is part of Congress. Senators propose and vote on legislation (laws). There are 100 members of the Senate (two Senators for each state). Senators are elected to a term of 6 years.
Soft money - money that is given to a political party but is not given specifically to support a particular candidate. This money is supposed to be used for purposes such as voter registration drives, administrative costs and general political party expenses, but is often used by the parties to help particular candidates.
Straw vote - an unofficial vote used to predict how an election might turn out.
Suffrage - the right or privilege of voting.
Suffragette - a person who campaigned for the right of women to vote. The 19th amendment (ratified in 1920) to the US Constitution gave women the right to vote.
Super delegate - a special delegate chosen by the party (not elected); their convention vote is not bound by the popular vote or caucus votes. Super delegates are seated because of their position in the party or government, or are chosen by their state party. Democrats have super delegates.
Super Tuesday - a day on which many primaries are held. This term began in 1988, when many southern states decided to hold their primaries on the same day to try to boost their political importance (in relation to the importance of the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses).
Swing voters - voters who do not have allegiance to a particular political party.
Term limits - limits on the length of time that a politician can stay in office. For example, the President of the United States is limited to two four-year terms of office.
Third party - any political party other than the two major parties (the two current major parties are the Democrats and Republicans).
Town meeting - a meeting of the voters of a town in order to discuss and sometimes decide upon issues.
US Constitution - the official document that is the basis of government and law in the United States. It was written in 1787, and ratified in 1789. Many amendments have been added since then.
Vote - a way to show your preference and choose elected leaders or decide on initiatives. People can vote by marking a piece of paper, raising their hand, or filling out a form on a computer.
Voting booth - a small enclosure in which a person votes.
Voting machine - a mechanical device used for voting. There are many different types of voting machines.
Source: Enchanted Learning®
ProCon.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charity that provides well-sourced pro, con, and related research on more than 50 controversial issues, from gun control and death penalty to illegal immigration and alternative energy. With more than 12,000 pages of highly curated, referenced content, ProCon.org provides a platform for people to question information, evaluate opposing views, and debate them in a respectful way.
FiveThirtyEight is a polling aggregation website with a blog created by Nate Silver. Established on March 7, 2008, as FiveThirtyEight.com, in August 2010 the blog became a licensed feature of The New York Times online and was renamed FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's Political Calculus.The name of the website refers to the number of electoral college needed to win a presidential race.
What It can do for you:
Gives you up to date coverage of elections.
Makes political predications in races in all states.
It covers issues beyond politics.
Do you want to meet your elective representatives during congressional recesses, then a great website is:
you can put in your zip code and it will tell you the nearest town hall meeting to you.
Here are some terminology for you to know
- Town Hall - A forum where members of Congress give updates on the current affairs of Congress and answer questions from constituents
- Office Hours - Serves the same purpose as a Town Hall, however Elected Officials are not always expected to attend
- Ticketed Event - Oftentimes county party events, local fundraisers, or campaign functions. There may be a fee for admission.
- TeleTown Hall Meeting - A town Hall conducted by conference call.
- Coffee - Usually a small regular meeting with constituents in Washington D.C. while Congress is in session.
How to choose a Candidate in any election
and recognize distortion tactics used by them or by their opponents
A) Name Calling: When a candidate uses inflammatory statements that distort the truth. For example a candidate may directly call his or her opponent derogatory names or questions their behavior or personality as "wishy-washy" or being "two-faced" when there is no evidence or reason for this classification. Don't also be side tracked by attacks on a candidate based on family, ethnicity, gender, race or personal characteristics that makes no difference on how they would carry out their duties for the office they are running for.
B) Guilt By Association: Look carefully at criticism of a candidate based on that candidate's supporters, for example" We all know that Mr. X is backed by big banks". Every candidate needs support from a wide range of people and groups who may not represent the candidate's views on all issues. Judge the candidate's own words and deeds.
C) Rumor-Mongering: Watch for unsubstantiated statements. This is when a candidate tries to make "dark hints" about his or her opponent to sway an election. For example a candidate can say: "I've heard that Mr. X is soft on crime". Be aware of such dirty campaigning tactics.
D) Loaded Statements: "I oppose wasteful spending" doesn't say much, but it implies that the candidate's opponent favors it, which of course may not be true. Also statements such as " where was my opponent when the people needed a leader in congress during the financial scandal?" The truth may be that there may never have been any congressional bill on this particular financial issue in congress for the candidate to vote on, and the candidate is trying to distort the truth about his or her opponent's leadership and sympathy for people in financial need.
E) Catch words: Beware of empty phrases such as : "I am a Law and Order Candidate" or "I will restore the American Dream" that are designed to trigger an impulsive emotional reaction in voters without saying much.
resource: The League of Women Voters of Los Angeles
Smart Voter provides non-partisan information on elections and voting. You can find contents of current and past elections, contacts for election officials, and other helpful resources, such as complete list of all contests on your ballot including local offices. SmartVoter is a product of the California League of Women Voters.
Voter Bill of Rights
These are your rights as a voter in every election
1. You have the right to cast a ballot if you are a valid registered voter. A valid registered voter means a United States citizen who is a resident in this state, who is 18 years of age and not in prison or on parole for conviction of a felony, and who is registered to vote at his or her current residence address.
2. You have the right to cast a provisional ballot if your name is not listed on the voting rolls.
3. You have the right to cast a ballot if you are present and in line at the polling place prior to the close of the polls.
4. You have the right to cast a secret ballot free from intimidation.
5. You have the right to receive a new ballot, if, prior to casting your ballot, you believe you made a mistake. If at any time before you finally cast your ballot, you feel you have made a mistake, you have the right to exchange the spoiled ballot for a new ballot. Vote-by-Mail voters may also request and receive a new ballot if they return their spoiled ballot to an election official prior to the closing of the polls on election day.
6. You have the right to receive assistance in casting your ballot, if you are unable to vote without assistance.
7. You have the right to return a completed vote-by-mail ballot to any precinct in the county.
8. You have the right to election materials in another language, if there are sufficient residents in your precincts to warrant production.
9.You have the right to ask questions about election procedures and observe the election process. You have the right to ask questions of the precinct board and election officials regarding election procedures and to receive an answer or be directed to the appropriate official for an answer. However, if persistent questioning disrupts the execution of their duties, the board or election officials may discontinue responding to questions.
10. You have the right to report any illegal or fraudulent activity to a local election official or to the Secretary of State's Office.
If you have been denied any rights, or you are aware of any election fraud or misconduct, you can call the California Secretary of State's confidential Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).
Please note that certain voters facing life-threatening situations may qualify for confidential voter status, Please call the California Secretary of States's Home Program toll- free at (877) 322-5227.
Source: California Secretary of State's Official Voter Information Guide, 2014
Check out our Farsi instructions on how to vote in Los Angeles County
Pictures show you how to insert and mark your ballot using the ink pen attached to the voting device called Inka voter which is inside your voting booth.
Pictures show you how to fill in the name of candidates not listed on your ballot.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. The ACLU works to protect and expand Americansʼ freedom to vote.
Check out their website for very important articles and cases about issues such as voting rights, promoting access to the ballot and fighting voter suppression laws.
Also ACLU of San Diego has a wonderful website that gives you information about the rights of people with criminal convictions to vote called:
Did you Know:
If you have a Misdemeanor Conviction, you can always vote.
In fact, you always keep your right to vote unless you are currently serving a sentence for certain felonies.
Felony Conviction, you can vote if:
* You are on probation or
* You have completed you post-release community supervision or
* You have completed you mandatory supervision or
*You have completed parole.
Your voting rights are automatically returned when you complete your sentence. You just have to fill out a Voter Registration Form.
"Time off from your Employer"
to go and vote
The California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections. A sample of this notice, as well as a notice to employers regarding time off for voting is available below as a PDF download or, you may call the Elections Division at (916) 657-2166 to order posters of the notices.
Employers must post the employee notice 10 days before a statewide election. A statewide election is an election held throughout the state.
The employee notice must be posted either in the workplace or where it can be seen by employees as they enter or exit their place of work.
Employees are eligible for paid time off for the purpose of voting only if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. The intent of the law is to provide an opportunity to vote to workers who would not be able to do so because of their jobs.
Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Employees can be given as much time as they need in order to vote, but only a maximum of two hours is paid.
Employers may require employees to give advance notice that they will need additional time off for voting.
Employers may require time off to be taken only at the beginning or end of the employee's shift.
Source: CA Secretary of State
Facts about California
- Voter Registration Deadline: 15 days before an election
- Election Day Voter Registration: Yes
- Early Voting: Yes
- Absentee Voting: Yes
- Voter ID: No
- Electoral Colleges: 55
- Congressional Districts: 53
Do you know what the different governmental agencies do?
Secretary of State
As the state's chief election officer, oversees statewide elections and provides public access to campaign and lobbying financial information. Maintains certain business filings, authenticates trademarks, regulates Notaries Public, and enables secured creditors to protect their financial interests. They also preserve California's history for acquiring, safeguarding, and sharing the state's historical treasures.
As the state's chief fiscal officer, serves as the state's accountant and bookkeeper of all public funds. Administers the state payroll system and unclaimed property laws, and conducts audits and reviews of state operations. It also serves on the Board of Equalization, the Board of Control, and other boards and commissions.
As the state's banker, manages the state's investments, and administers the sale of state bonds and notes. Serves on several commissions, most of which are related to the marketing of bonds. It also pays out state funds when spent by the Controller and other state agencies.
As the state's chief law officer, ensures that state laws are enforced and investigates fraudulent or illegal activities. Heads the Department of Justice, which provides state government legal services and represents the state in civil and criminal court cases. It also oversees law enforcement agencies, including County district attorneys and sheriffs.
Heads the Department of Insurance, which enforces California insurance laws and adopts regulations to implement the laws. Licenses, regulates and examines insurance companies. It also answers public questions and complaints about the insurance industry.
Board of Equalization
Serves on the Board of Equalization, the state's elected tax commission, which oversees the administration of many tax and fee programs including those for sales, fuels, alcohol, cigarettes, and tobacco. Serves as the appellate body for California income tax and franchise tax cases. It also oversees the administration of property taxes.
Source: Official Voter Information Guide By California Secretary of State
House of Representative
Elected to a two-year term, each representative serves the people of a specific congressional district by introducing bills and serving on committees, among other duties.
You can use this site to find your Representative by putting in your zip code.
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
United States Senate
Established by the Constitution as one of the chambers of the federal government’s legislative branch.The United States Senate is comprised of one hundred members—two senators from each of the 50 states—who serve six-year, overlapping terms. Senators, along with members of the House of Representatives, propose, author, and vote on federal legislation that touches upon all aspects of U.S. domestic and foreign policy. Senators provide advice and consent on executive nominations and treaties and conduct oversight of all branches of the federal government.
- You can use this site to find your Senator by putting in the name of your state.
Even though citizens can register to vote at any time, if they want to vote in an upcoming election, they must register no later than 15 days before that election. A completed affidavit of registration must be postmarked or delivered in person to the county elections office no later than 15 days before an election. (Elections Code §§ 2102, 2107.)
An affidavit of registration postmarked or received from 14 days prior to Election Day to Election Day will not be valid for the current election. However, the person will be registered to vote in time for the next election. New citizens are an exception; they can register up to and including on Election Day. (Elections Code §§ 331, 3500.)
In order to register to vote, a person must be:
- A United States citizen,
- A resident of California,
- 18 years of age or older on Election Day,
- Not currently imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony, and
- Not currently found to be mentally incompetent by a court of law.
The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the use of any poll or other tax as a way to deny people the right to vote. Additionally, Elections Code section 2121 states, “No fees may be charged for registration.” A person may, however, solicit campaign contributions while registering voters, as long as that is not a condition for allowing an eligible citizen to register to vote.
You do not need to be a registered voter, be a particular age or even be a resident of the area in order to register voters. However, if you help someone fill out an affidavit of registration, you do have to fill in and sign the affidavit in the spaces provided for that purpose.
State Voter Registration Card
The State VRC (Voter Registration Card/Form) is pre-printed with a mailing address to the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento. These cards come to the Secretary of State’s office, are sorted by hand and then forwarded to the appropriate County elections office where the voter is actually placed on the voter rolls.
The State VRC is printed in English, as well as in Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese, as required by the federal Voting Rights Act.
The benefit of using the State VRC is it can be used in any of 58 counties. However, it will take a person longer to be registered to vote, given that the cards are mailed to one central location, and then mailed out to the appropriate County where the person is registering to vote.
County Voter Registration Card
The County VRC is identical to the state VRC except the pre-printed mailing address on the front is that of a specific County elections office, so these VRCs can be mailed directly back to the specific County elections office.
Counties are only required to provide election materials in certain languages other than English when the number of residents that speak a minority-language exceeds a certain percentage of the population. Therefore, most Counties do not print County VRCs in all nine approved languages.
The benefit of using the County VRC is the person will become a registered voter much quicker, since the card is mailed directly to their home County elections office.
What they can provide you with:
- Use your address to get a personalized ballot.
- Get info on candidates, measures, and who supports them.
- Keep track of your choices and use them to vote
WHAT IS VOTER INTIMIDATION?
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
WHO CAN I REPORT INTIMIDATION TO?
You can report intimidation to:
The Election Protection Hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
The 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
WHO CAN BE A POLL MONITOR?
In many states, poll monitors must be trained and certified by a political party or a candidate, and must carry their certification paperwork with them. In many states, poll monitors must also be registered voters in the state or county where they are monitoring the polls.
WHAT CAN POLL MONITORS DO?
Generally, certified poll monitors are allowed inside the polling place, but states may limit the number of poll monitors per candidate/ party at any given time. In many states, certified poll monitors may inspect the pollbooks. In many states, certified poll monitors can challenge the qualifications of voters.
Unofficial/self-designated election observers are not permitted inside a polling place.
WHAT CAN POLL MONITORS NOT DO?
Poll monitors are not usually allowed in the “enclosed space” that includes the voting machines, the voting booth, or the area immediately around the poll workers’ tables. In many states, poll monitors may observe within a reasonable distance of the pollworkers’ table, but not interact directly with voters. In many states, poll monitors may not inspect the poll books when voters are present.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY QUALIFICATIONS TO VOTE ARE CHALLENGED?
Laws vary. In many states, if your qualifications are challenged, you can give a sworn statement that you satisfy the qualifications to vote in your state, and then proceed to cast a regular ballot.
WHAT DO I DO IF I’M NOT ON THE LIST OF REGISTERED VOTERS?
Always ask pollworkers to double check the regular list of registered voters. If you are not registered, ask if there is a supplemental list of voters (sometimes, voters who register closer to Election Day are processed after the pollbooks are printed, then placed on a supplemental list). You may also ask them to check a statewide system, if one is available, to see if you are registered to vote at a different polling place.
If they still can’t find you, ask for a provisional ballot. All voters are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if you are not in the pollbook. After Election Day, election officials must investigate whether you’re qualified and registered to vote; and if so, they must count your provisional ballot.
CAN PEOPLE CAMPAIGN IN OR AROUND THE POLLING PLACE?
Campaigning is not allowed inside a polling place. Campaigning may be permitted outside the polling place – at a certain distance from the polls. Some states prohibit campaigning within 200 feet of the entrance a polling place (Alaska); others permit campaigning up to 30 feet from the entrance (Alabama).
WHAT ROLE CAN THE POLICE PLAY ON ELECTION DAY?
Police are allowed inside the polling place. If you are feeling intimidated or harassed, you can report it to the police. Police, like everyone, are subject to laws against voter intimidation.
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR ASSISTANCE FOR VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES OR LIMITED ENGLISH?
Under federal law, voters with disabilities or limited English proficiency may get help voting from a person they choose, as long as it’s not the voter’s employer, or an agent of the voter’s employer or union. They cannot be turned away from the polls because a poll worker thinks they do not have the capacity to vote. If someone is registered to vote, they should be allowed to vote.