Some politicians will stop at nothing to try to discourage people from voting. Why? They’re the ones who are scared of what will happen if people actually get to the polls. In honor of Halloween, here are some of the political dirty tricks that should NOT scare you away from exercising your right to vote.
Earlier this month, billboards designed to discourage and intimidate voters started popping up in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati and elsewhere. But the billboards had the opposite of their intended effect: local voting rights activists took to the streets and shamed the billboard owners into taking them down. The victory was a great example of citizens turning voter suppression into voter mobilization.
Some politicians and political operatives are so desperate to keep some people from voting that they generate bogus phone calls with messages that tell people the date of the election has been changed or that they no longer need to vote. Don’t pay any attention to these calls. Plan ahead, know where and when you are going to vote, and ignore any robo-call that tries to tell you otherwise.
Threatening Election Monitors
In recent elections, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has sent teams to observe U.S. elections. Those observers have been welcomed by voting rights backers, but this year Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott threatened to have them arrested. OSCE officials have assured General Abbott that they will not interfere with or influence the elections in Texas.
Losing Your Job
One of the many terrible consequences of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has been a bunch of employers telling their employees how to vote, along with threats of job loss if the election goes the wrong way. It may be legal for your boss to pressure you with propaganda, but he still can’t follow you into the voting booth. Don’t be bullied.
Voter ID Laws
Many of the most unfair and unreasonable voter ID laws have been prevented by the courts from going into effect. While some politicians have confused voters about what they need in order to vote, the facts are out there. You can help voters overcome concerns by knowing exactly what is required to vote in your state. Check out canivote.org to learn more about voting requirements in your state.
Aggressive Poll Watchers
Organizations like True the Vote and its affiliates in many states are threatening to aggressively challenge voters at the polls. Know your rights and stand up for them. You can take on voter intimidation by volunteering with Video the Vote . And you can report any Election Day problems to Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Some state politicians have limited opportunities for early voting, which could mean longer lines on Election Day. In some parts of the country, Hurricane Sandy shut down early voting for a few days. In many states you can still avoid the Election Day rush by finding out when and where you can vote early and casting your ballot as soon as possible. If you decide to vote on Election Day, plan ahead and give yourself the time you need. Don’t let long lines keep you from exercising your right and your duty.
If you need help with voting or want to report problems voting on Election Day, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.