Published: September 1, 2020

This year, amidst a devastating pandemic, vote-by-mail could be your best option. But if you prefer to vote in person, by all means do so, while staying socially-distanced. Although it’s unlikely, some voters might encounter individuals hoping to pressure, upset or intimidate them. So when you show up at the polls, it’s crucial that you know your rights.

Polling places should be free of intimidation. Forms of voter intimidation and voter suppression include:  

  • Physically blocking polling places
  • 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
  • Questioning voters about their political choices, citizenship status, or criminal record
  • Displaying false or misleading signage
  • Spreading false information about voting requirements and procedures

If you experience or witness any incident of voter intimidation or voter suppression, report it. Here are some options:

  • Tell a poll worker or the election supervisor.
  • Call your state Board of Elections or the Elections Commissioner.
  • Call the Election Protection Hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE. To report in Spanish, call 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA.
  • Call the U.S. Department of Justice voting rights hotline: 1-800-253-3931.
  • Call your local police.

The right to vote safely, without harassment or pressure, is fundamental to the health of our democracy. Let’s all do our part to maintain it.