You have voting rights. Know what they are before you hit the polls

Sure, you could have voting rights.

James Martin/PJDM

This story is part of Elections 2020, PJDM’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

As an American citizen, your right to vote begins the day you flip 18. It’s essential to, nevertheless, activate that proper by registering to vote earlier than Election Day. And although there are a number of legal guidelines defending your proper to vote, there are individuals who might attempt to mislead you with false info that might even verge on voter intimidation — a federal crime.

For instance, it’s possible you’ll erroneously hear that voting by mail results in election fraud, but there’s been no proof of coordinated vote-by-mail fraud, with fewer than 150 criminal convictions for the crime over the past 20 years. As an American citizen, you even have the appropriate to guard your well being throughout the pandemic by submitting your vote through the mail. This is every thing it is best to know.

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You may select to vote by mail or in-person

You’ve the appropriate to vote by mail or in-person. Others might attempt to sway you away from voting by mail as a result of false rumors of mail fraud. Nonetheless, the FBI has stated it might be “extraordinarily difficult” to vary election outcomes via vote-by-mail fraud and has seen no proof of a coordinated effort to take action.

When you’re involved about your mail-in poll, this is how you can track it, and ways to make sure your vote counts.

You’ve the appropriate to vote in non-public and never be intimidated

There is a motive why cubicles are arrange throughout polling locations — to guard your proper to decide on who you are voting for. Do not let anybody persuade you they should watch you fill out your poll — even when it is a ballot employee. If somebody is interfering whilst you’re voting, it is thought-about voter intimidation and your proper to vote in non-public is protected beneath federal voter intimidation laws.

If this occurs, let a ballot employee know after which report it to the Election Protection Hotline (1-866-OUR-VOTE) or the US Division of Justice voting rights hotline (1-800-253-3931). You must also contact your state board of elections. If somebody makes an attempt to inflict bodily hurt, name the police.


You’ve the identical rights irrespective of who you are voting for.

James Martin/PJDM

You’ve the appropriate to vote in your native language

Voters who don’t want to vote in English (e.g. English could also be a second language) can obtain help on the polls by bringing a buddy or relative. Below the Voting Rights Act, some counties are required to provide bilingual assistance to voters within the language they converse. It’s possible you’ll contact your county and request a poll and informational materials in your major language.

Different rights you could have

  • If the polls shut whilst you’re in line, you continue to have the appropriate to vote.
  • You may request a brand new poll for those who make a mistake.
  • You may select to make use of a machine or paper poll and change to paper if a machine breaks.
  • You may vote early in case your state permits it.
  • When you’re unsure you are eligible, you are entitled to a provisional ballot, which might be counted if it is decided you are eligible.
  • Older adults and folks with disabilities have the appropriate to accessible polling stations and somebody to help them.
  • Folks with psychological disabilities can’t be turned away or prevented from voting.

When you expertise issues or need to double-check your rights on election day, you may name the toll free numbers beneath, together with in a number of languages.

Some folks with felony information can vote

Relying on the state you reside in and conviction, you could possibly restore your proper to vote if it was suspended. In some states, people who find themselves convicted of felonies lose their proper to vote indefinitely relying on the crime, or they want a governor’s pardon to vote once more, in keeping with the National Conference of State Legislatures. In different states, resembling Maine, folks convicted of felonies by no means lose their voting rights, even when they’re incarcerated.

Most states restore the appropriate to vote to folks after they full their sentences, in keeping with group Campaign Legal. You may check your status to see in case your proper to vote has been restored within the state you reside in.

Vote stickers for the elction

Solely vote as soon as.

James Martin/PJDM

You’ve the appropriate to vote one time

No matter what it’s possible you’ll incorrectly hear from others, you cannot vote more than once in the identical election. Double voting is a federal crime that’s punishable by positive and/or imprisonment. Along with federal legislation, every state has its personal set of laws against double voting as nicely.

Your rights are protected by two Acts

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a federal legislation that protects voters from racial discrimination. It enforces the 15th Amendment which states “The correct of residents of the USA to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the USA or by any State on account of race, coloration, or earlier situation of servitude.”

The Nationwide Voter Registration Act of 1993

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also called the Motor Voter Act) was enacted to boost voting alternatives for People by making it simpler to vote and preserve registration.

The NVRA additionally requires states to offer voter registration opportunities in any respect workplaces that present public help and state-funded applications for individuals with disabilities.

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Who to name in case you have an issue on the polls

When you encounter any points or questions whereas voting on the polls, you may name certainly one of these hotline numbers.

Election Safety Hotline:

  • English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683
  • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682
  • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US / 1-844-925-5287
  • For Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683

For extra voting info, this is when early voting starts in every statehow to find your polling place and everything you need to bring to vote in person.

#voting #rights #hit #polls


Katie Conner