If you haven’t yet headed to the polls, here are some voter suppression tactics to look out for, according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The organization has been gathering reports on its website of complaints. Among them poll workers questioning voters’ citizenship in Texas, police officers hanging around polls in Florida and robocalls in Georgia and Florida urging voters to “do what you did in 2010, stay at home,” said Barbara Arnwine, the group’s president.
But to avoid being victimized, “voters should check their voting eligibility, make sure they have proper identification if their states require it and check their precinct location and hours in advance, Arnwine told The Huffington Post.
Election date change scam. “Emails, robocalls or paper flyers placed in mailboxes or on car windshields telling voters that one political party votes on one day, and everyone else on another, are simply not true,” reports HuffPo.
Don’t let anyone intimate you. In some areas, poll “observers” have claimed they would challenge the eligibility of certain voters. And some employers have even threatened workers that voting a certain way could get them fired.
Don’t believe threats of arrest. Be aware that polling places do not have access to voters’ criminal records. Anyone who tells you that you could be arrested for showing up to vote if you have unpaid parking tickets, outstanding arrest warrants or a criminal record is lying, say experts.
“There are only three states where felony convictions can lead to a permanent loss of voting rights: Kentucky, Florida and Iowa, according to Project Vote. Everywhere else, former criminals can eventually get their voting rights restored, so check your state’s laws. And all states require conviction, so ongoing cases have no effect on the right to cast a ballot,” reports HuffPo.
Don’t get the polling place runaround. If you get a last-minute call, email or receive a flyer saying your polling places and voting times have changed. Don’t believe it.
Don’t pay attention to “Do Not Vote” messages. “Some sides try to depress voting by telling the electorate that polls show a certain race is already over, or that one candidate or the other is so far ahead that one more vote won’t matter,” reports HuffPo.
Glitches galore. In North Carolina, we’ve seen reports of long lines and other problems disrupting people’s ability to vote. And Common Cause sent us a press release this afternoon saying that many people have been excluded from the rolls or are experiencing website breakdowns, hindering their vote. In these cases, tenacity is key. Know that what you’re doing is worth pressing for, an act that people here and abroad continue to fight for.
Remember, every vote counts. There’s still time to get out there and make your voice heard.