On Election Day—What to Do if Your Vote Is Challenged

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Human Rights & Justice

You need to be prepared so you can vote on Election Day. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

On Election Day—What to Do if Your Vote Is Challenged

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Human Rights & Justice

You need to be prepared so you can vote on Election Day. AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Voting on election day is your right, privilege and duty. With all the noise created by the former president, complexities have been generated that can get in your way. Here are the tools to be prepared.

With the general election drawing close, it’s important to know your rights in case your vote is challenged.

The best way to ensure that your vote is counted is to advocate for yourself. I’m a civil rights attorney and lecturer for the University of Southern California’s undergraduate civil rights advocacy initiative, Agents of Change. Here are several straightforward ways to ensure your vote is counted and two practical remedies for you to consider if your vote remains challenged.

A major part of ensuring that you are able to vote is doing the necessary preparation before you even get to the polling place.

Are you registered to vote? Check it out

Before you vote, you need to ensure that you’re registered to vote. You can verify your registration status using this tool. If you can’t use an online tool, then call your local election office or a voter help line like the ones listed in the hotline section below.

If you find you’re not registered, you can use this tool from the National Conference of State Legislatures to find your state’s online registration application. If you need to do this in person, then call your local election office for instructions.

At this point, you may have missed your state’s deadline for voter registration. But it may not be too late to register.

Many states allow same-day registration at the polling site. You can find your state’s same-day voter laws detailed here. Ask the poll worker, at the correct polling location, for a same-day registration form; complete the form, and then ask for a “conditional ballot.” A conditional ballot allows election officials to count your vote after verifying your voter eligibility. If you can’t research online, you can call your local election office to find out if you can register on Election Day.

People at a voter registration table at a voter registration event May 6, 2022, in Griffin, Ga. Elijah Nouvelage for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Gather documents to verify your identity

Voter ID laws generally cover in-person voting, not absentee ballots or mailed ballots.

If you live in a state that requires identity verification to vote in person, gather the required documents—which may range from driver’s licenses to bank statements with identifying information—before traveling to the correct polling place. You can find your county election office’s contact information here. This webpage includes a table listing each state’s acceptable ID documents and possible exceptions for some folks. You may also call your local election office to find out what’s required.

Find the correct polling location

You can ensure that you’re headed to the right polling place with this tool. Or call your county election office to find your polling place and its hours of operation; you can look up your county’s election office contact information here.

Once you know your polling place and its hours, you can go there and check in. In most cases, you’ll be handed a ballot, shown where to vote and asked to put your ballot in a machine or a box, and then you can go merrily along your way.

But the moment of check-in is where things might go wrong.

Problems at your polling place

Here are potential vote challenges and ways to overcome them.

Possibility #1: Out-of-order polling machines.

If you’re asked to leave because of malfunctioning machines, don’t. Instead, ask for a paper ballot.

Possibility #2: You’re in line and officials announce the polls have closed.

If you’re in line at the polling location before it closes, don’t let them turn you away at closing time if you haven’t voted. You have the legal right to vote under those circumstances, so stay in line and wait to cast your ballot.

Possibility #3: You’re not on the registered voters list.

If you’re told you can’t vote because your name is not on the voter roster, ask the poll site worker to check again and to check what’s called the list of supplemental voters. If they still can’t find your name, ask the poll worker to verify that you’re at the right location.

Poll workers want you to vote. But sometimes there are problems. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Possibility #4: Someone claims you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

If your voting eligibility remains challenged after ensuring you’re at the right polling location, ask to cast a provisional ballot, which is available in every state except Idaho and Minnesota. You can find details about your particular state’s provisional ballot rules here.

Track your provisional ballot here.

Call a hotline

If you are not given a provisional ballot, call an election hotline for help. Here are four hotlines, run by members of the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, that can help you:

English: 866-OUR-VOTE/866-687-8683, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Spanish: 888-VE-Y-VOTA/888-839-8682, The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund

Asian Languages: 888-API-VOTE/888-274-8683, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote

Arabic: 844-YALLA-US/844-925-5287, Arab American Institute

Report voter intimidation

If someone tries to scare you into voting or not voting for a candidate, stand your ground and demand a ballot from the poll site, call a hotline above to report the intimidation, and file a claim with the FBI later by phone at 800-CALL-FBI – 800-225-5324 – or online at tips.fbi.gov.

File a lawsuit

If you are still blocked from voting, consider legal action—but get advice on your exact situation from one of the hotlines, which have free lawyers on hand. It’s a good idea to write down the names of people who prevented you from voting and to ask people who witnessed the incident for their contact information.The Conversation

Republished with permission from The Conversation, by Karen Figueroa-Clewett, Lecturer, Agents of Change program, Department of Political Science and International Relations, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

The Conversation

The Conversation

The Conversation is a nonprofit, independent news organization dedicated to unlocking the knowledge of experts for the public good. We publish trustworthy and informative articles written by academic experts for the general public and edited by our team of journalists.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Related Articles

Dec 01 2022

Ron DeSantis Puts Academics Under Attack in the Name of “Freedom”

A specialty of the so-called “champions of freedom” is to prohibit everything that does not suit their interests. Their repeated “free speech” means...
Nov 30 2022

Oath Keepers Convictions, the Limits of Free Speech — And the Threat Posed By Militias

Far-right extremists or other hate groups can claim they are just venting or even fantasizing—both of which would be protected under the First Amendment. For this...
Nov 23 2022

The Supreme Court Denies Trump’s Final Bid to Hide Tax Returns From House Committee

The ridiculous and repeated delaying tactics by Trump to hide his tax returns from Congress are finally over.
Nov 20 2022

Profits Over People: The Danger of Private Equity’s Stealthy Takeover of Health Care

Private equity is rapidly moving to reshape health care in America, coming off a banner year in 2021, when the deep-pocketed firms plowed $206 billion into more than...
Nov 18 2022

First Amendment: Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis Struck Down by Federal Judge

A Federal judge ruled, “…the First Amendment does not permit the State of Florida to muzzle its university professors, impose its own orthodoxy of...
Nov 11 2022

The Lost and Nearly Forgotten Story of the Bonus Army March

The Bonus Army March was one of the few times in American history when the U.S. military was used to shut down a massive demonstration of peaceful protesters.
Nov 02 2022

The Barbaric Results of Republican Abortion Bans

In a new Senate report healthcare providers explained how abortion bans have adversely affected their ability to care for patients and have cut down on abortion access...
Oct 28 2022

Michigan Abortion Rights Vote: A Collision and Medicine and Politics

Kansas voted this year to keep abortion legal. Now Michigan is one of five states asking voters to weigh in on abortion policy in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June...
Oct 24 2022

Meet the Major Corporations Bankrolling the Anti-Abortion Attorneys General Group

Major corporations are backing RAGA (Republican Attorney Generals Association) which is devoting resources to key attorneys general races across the country.
Oct 22 2022

Tools to Help You Outsmart Election Disinformation

The 2022 midterms are here, and so too is a wave of new mis- and disinformation trends. Here’s how to tell the two apart — and what you and your loved ones can do to...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This