Concern is growing over potential confrontations at polling places due to deep partisan divides and President Trump’s call for his supporters “to go into the polls and watch very carefully.”
Voting intimidation of any kind is illegal and several organizations are in place for voters on either side to report any intimidation or illegal actions at the polls.
Federal law, which states 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.”
Some examples of voter intimidation could be:
Aggressively questioning a voter about citizenship
Baseless or discriminatory challenges to voter eligibility
Falsely presenting as an elections official and spreading false information
Shouting abusive language
If a voter is being followed and improperly photographed or recorded
Blocking the entrance to a polling place
Disrupting voting lines
Taunting other voters or election workers Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).
A federal prosecutor will be on duty on Election Day to respond to complaints of possible election fraud or voting rights violations in Kansas, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
How to Report Intimidation
If you have been kept from casting your ballot or experienced voter intimidation, here are some ways to report the violation of your right to vote
Call the National Election Protection hotline (866-OUR-VOTE)
Report intimidation to county poll workers, the county clerk, elections officials, local and state officials, or the state board of elections. Their offices will be open on Election Day.
Justice Department Voting Rights Hotline at 800-253-3931
In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s office for Kansas and for Western Missouri have each appointed a District Election Office who will be responsible for overseeing the handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights concerns in consultation with Justice Department officials in Washington.
For Kansas, the person is Asst. U.S. Attorney Jared Maag
For Missouri, that person is Asst. U.S. Attorney Alan T. Simpson
Both will be available to the public while the polls are open on Nov. 3.
For Kansas, call 785-295-2858. For Missouri, call 816-426-3122.