How do you avoid Voter Intimidation?
The General Elections (the Mid-Term Elections) ends on November 8, 2022. Resources for you to figure out how to vote safely. Voter Intimidation is illegal, and you have rights as a New York State voter. Learn More.
Legitimate challenges vs. voter intimidation
Beware of messages that try to prevent you from voting
Watch out for phone calls, mailings, or messages in newspapers, social media, TV, or radio that discourage you from using an absentee ballot, voting early, or voting at all:
- “Your vote is not private.” This is untrue. How you vote will not be shared when you vote.
- “Elections are used to crack down on warrants or tickets.” This is a lie. Someone is trying to scare you to prevent you from voting.
- “Your polling place/date has changed.” Consult your local Board of Elections and the resources they have listed, especially if you receive different information about where or when to vote.
Some challenges are legal
At a polling site, an election inspector or clerk, an official poll watcher, or a registered voter can challenge a voter’s right to vote. The challenger cannot be intimidating or threatening. Legitimate claims may be that the voter:
- Has not provided an authentic signature
- Does not reside in an appropriate location for this election
- Has already cast their ballot
- Is otherwise unqualified to vote
- Is engaged in electioneering (working on behalf of a political party or candidate at or near the polling site).
- If someone challenges you, you can dispute the challenge.
Voter intimidation is illegal
The New York Attorney General’s Office takes any claim of voter intimidation seriously.
We encourage you to immediately report any intimidation to the New York Attorney General’s Office hotline at (866) 390-2992.
Voter intimidation, although very rare in New York, could include the following and other tactics:
- Individuals or groups waiting outside polling places and trying to scare people out of the voting line
- Poll watchers inside a polling place aggressively challenging a large group of voters, slowing down lines and falsely hinting that voters are voting illegally
- Poll watchers near voting booths, standing in unauthorized areas, videorecording or photographing voters in the polling place, or following or harassing voters in the polling place
- Individuals spreading rumors or making false statements that voting leads to negative consequences
- Individuals or groups displaying weapons, foreign military uniforms, or any military symbols or equipment outside polling locations.
If you see any of these behaviors, please fill out the complaint form at the New York Attorney General’s Office or call the New York Attorney General at (866) 390-2992.