Know Your Rights Before Hitting the Polls

Being informed can help counteract voter suppression tactics

should not leave home without identification. To be safe, bring your voter registration card, driver’s license, government-issued photo ID, a paycheck, utility bill, or government document that includes your name and street address, Campbell says.

Some states may have new voting machines or ballot forms with which voters may be unfamiliar. You have a right to request help from poll workers about how to use the machines. Campbell, who cast an early ballot this week in Virginia, says that even she had to ask for assistance at one point, and advises others not hesitate to do so if they have any questions or feel uncertain about the process.

Campbell’s organization and other civil rights and legal groups will have lawyers and poll watchers at sites around the nation. According to the Brennan Center, minority communities and students have historically faced more challenges when voting. Voters who are challenged should seek the organization’s assistance immediately. If they cannot easily identify someone who can help, they should call 866-OUR-VOTE for legal assistance. In the event they are unable to resolve the situation right away, they have a right to cast a provisional ballot if they are certain they are registered, Campbell says.

Bositis believes the greatest number of voter suppression efforts will likely take place in states where the margins between the two presidential candidates are close. But, he adds, if Democrats are in control of a particular state, it will be harder to do. “In Ohio, for example, Democrats basically control the state government now, so they’re not going to acquiesce and let Republicans run roughshod. In fact, they’ve already defended some voting cases in court for this election and won,” Bositis says. “I know there will be some mischief, that’s just how the Republicans are. But I don’t know that it’s going to make any difference. Voting is going to be a pain for some people without question. But is this going to be something where the Republicans are going to be able to snatch victory that they don’t otherwise merit? No.”

Pages: 1 2
ACROSS THE WEB