If you are told you cannot vote
This page is part of the Election Protection Wiki,
This article discusses the rights and options of individuals who show up at the polling place on Election Day to vote but are told they are not on the voter rolls, are challenged, or face other obstacles to voting.
If you are told you cannot vote
There are multiple reports from several states that large numbers of voters are being removed from the voter rolls due to superfluous inconsistencies between identification forms (for instance, driver's license records) and the voter database, or other reasons. These inconsistencies, introduced either by the voter or by the process, may take the form of:
- inconsistent use of an initial
- inconsistent use of a nickname as opposed to a formal name
- name changes (for instance, as a result of marriage or divorce)
The result can be that you arrive at the polling place only to be told that you are not registered.
Steps to take
- Bring multiple forms of identification.
- Call a voter hotline.
- Be persistent in asking to vote by regular ballot.
- If not allowed to vote by regular ballot, demand to vote by provisional ballot.
According to the Help America Vote Act any citizen who comes to a polling place is entitled to receive a provisional ballot. After the election the appropriate election officials can determine if the voter is eligible. The voter is also entitled to take steps to ensure that the vote is counted.
- Main article: Provisional voting
Provisional ballots if cast in the wrong precinct
Different states have different procedures for counting or not counting provisional ballots that are cast in the wrong precinct. Some states will not count these ballots, so it is important to go to the correct polling place on election day. You can use GoVote.org to locate your polling place and other voting information.
The Election Protection Voter Hotline 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).
The Election Protection Hotline description:
"Through our state of the art hotlines: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) and 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund), this website, and comprehensive voter protection field programs across the country, we provide Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive voter information and advice on how they can make sure their vote is counted.
Made up of more than 100 local, state and national partners, this year's coalition will be the largest voter protection and education effort in the nation's history.
Throughout the election process, our volunteers - more than 10,000 strong - will be entering data and information into OurVote live (developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation), an interactive environment painting the most comprehensive picture of election irregularities from the perspective of the voter available anywhere. Unique in the excitement of this political season, Election Protection focuses on the voter - not on the political horse race - and provides guidance, information and help to any American, regardless of who that voter is casting a ballot for."
Articles and resources
- Steven Rosenfeld, "How to Make Your Vote as Easy as Possible: An Online Guide," AlterNet, October 31, 2008
- Provisional Voting, from Project Vote.
- Provisional Balloting, from Election Protection.
- Steven Rosenfeld, "Attention Voters: Here's What You Have to Do to Make Sure You Get to Vote," AlterNet, October 21, 2008.
"For those voting on Election Day, know where your polling place is located, what ID to bring (especially new voters) and expect lines. Call an election protection hotline if there is trouble. But be confident that you will vote if you have followed your state's registration laws."
- "What To Do If You Have Problems Voting," press release from www.uncountedthemovie.com reprinted at Scoop, October 23, 2008.
- Edward Foley and Tova Andrea Wang, "Provisional ballots may be the hanging chad of ’08," The Hill, February 27, 2008.