The election is just over one week away, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see both of the candidates going the extra mile to win your vote over the course of the next few days.
Among the many strategies that are already in motion by at least one of the candidate’s teams are voter suppression tactics. In case you need a quick refersher, voter suppression tactics are anything that discourages or prevents you from being able to vote. While some of these efforts may be obvious, others might not be so easy to recognize.
As you prepapre to head to the polls on November 8, here are 8 voter suppression tactics to look out for on election day.
1. Discouragement In The Face Of Long Lines
No matter when or where you are voting, the possiblity of encountering an excessively long line is always a given. Pay close attention to anyone suggesting you “leave and come back later” when the lines are shorter, or even attempting to discourage you from voting altogether. Be sure to plan your trip to the polls at a time when you have some time to spare, as not to be distracted by the potentially long lines.
2. Strict Identification Requirements
If you are a registered voter, in most cases, a government-issued ID should be all you need to vote. In some instances, you may be required to present your voter registration card, but if you notice that other voters are being given different instructions than you or anyone in your group, don’t hesitate to ask questions for clarification.
3. Unofficial Poll “Observers”
While polling places have historically been relatively hassle-free enviroments in many states, the volatile nature of this election year may result in the presence of people attempting to question you, or do other things to purposely irritate you until you either leave or are asked to leave. Remember to stand firm and don’t give in to anyone attempting to deter you from doing what you came to do, which is to vote.
4. Last Minute Polling Site Changes
In these last days leading up to the election, make it a point to consistently check to see where your polling location is each day. Changes in the location of the place you’re supposed to vote are a high possibility in some states and you may not be notified ahead of time if that happens.
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5. Inconsistent Information About Polling Hours Of Operation
Polling sites will open as early as 6am and close as late as 9pm on election day. Hours of operation vary by state, so make sure you check to see what time the hours are for your state ahead of time. On the day you plan to go vote, check again before you head over just to make sure there aren’t any changes that cause you to miss your opportunity to vote.
6. Overhaul Of Villifying Campaign Ads
Read up on the candidates and where they stand on the issues most important to you so that you aren’t easily swayed by the influx of negative campaign ads, which will undoubtedly surface as a last attempt to gain your vote by painting the other candidate in a bad light. Know the history of your candidate, but also keep in mind that the action plans they’ve laid out for the present and future are what will prove most vital should they be elected president.
7. Random Voter Purging
If you are removed from a voting line to be questioned, repositioned or even prevented from voting by a polling official, keep a cool head and ask questions to find out what’s going on rather than walking away without casting your vote. It also helps to do a quick read up on your rights as a voter ahead of time, or bring someone with you who is at least minimally informed about the basics.
8. Blatant Intimidation
Whether it be subtle comments from other voters, angry words from protestors, or an irritated polling official who’s having a bad day, don’t let anyone intimidate you to the point that you stop yourself from voting without doing everything possible to make sure your vote is counted.
The fact that these tactics are being put to use alone should tell you just how valuable and powerful your vote is. Otherwise, why else would they be trying to suppress it, right?