Your #1 Task : Help the Voter • Your #1 goal is to make sure that any eligible voter who wants to vote is able to cast their ballot. • Don’t get sidetracked by a rude election official or passionate voter. Stay cool and focused on goal #1. • Many problems are communications problems – clarify the issue, don’t jump to conclusions. • Most of what you will do is provide voters with good information.
More on Your Role • Put Election Protection signs up outside of polling places. • Stand (or sit) outside of polling places and answer questions from voters. • Hand out the Voter’s Bill of Rights (in English & Spanish) or “Why Vote” pocket card; use them to answer questions. • Check in with voters who leave the polling place looking disgruntled. “Did you have a problem inside?”
More on Your Role • Get the name and phone number of any voter or poll worker involved in a problem. That helps Election Protection advocates investigate the complaint. • If the voter is willing to wait, ask them to call the Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE. • If the voter won’t wait, get their name & phone number and a summary of the incident down on an Election Protection form and call the hotline yourself.
More on Your Role • You can go into the polling place with the voter to try to fix the problem. Ask for the chief judge. BUT if it seems like you’re hurting instead of helping, back out and call the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. • Make sure election officials inside the polling place know about any problems happening outside of the polling place, so they can try to fix it. • You can not be an advocate for a challenged voter in the hearing process, although you can be a witness.
Deadlines • Same Day Registration is available during Early Voting, but not on Election Day. 2013 is the last year that Same Day Registration will be available. • Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and arrive at the Board of Elections within 3 days of the election in order to be counted.
Who Needs to Show ID? • New voters who have never voted in NC and didn’t provide proper identification when they filled out the voter registration application. • Voters who have recently moved, but haven’t changed their address with the county Board of Elections. • Inactive voters who haven’t cast a ballot in any election since 2004 may be asked, particularly if their address has changed.
What Kind of ID Will Work? • Any valid photo identification OR • Any one of these with your name and current address: • Bank statement or paycheck • Utility bill (electric, water, gas, phone or cable) • Any other government document (car registration, tax bill, letter from agency, gov’t check)
College Students • If a college student has not registered in the county where they attend school, they can use Same Day Registration to do so. • For students who chose to re-register at their school address, a student ID card and another school document (invoice, dorm assignment letter) with their current address are acceptable to use together as ID.
Polling Place Rules • Polls are open from 6:30AM to 7:30PM. If you are in line at 7:30PM you must be allowed to vote. • All campaigners must be beyond a “buffer zone,” generally 50 feet from the door of the polling place. • Curbside voting should be available for anyone who has difficulty standing in line or reaching the voting room because of age or a physical disability.
Polling Place Rules • No poll workers should be wearing any partisan paraphernalia (stickers, buttons, t-shirts, or hats). • Voters are allowed to wear partisan paraphernalia as long as they do so quietly without drawing attention to themselves. • Voter can take a list or sample ballot with their choices inside, but don’t show it to others or leave it behind. • Using a cell phone or camera is not allowed inside.
Penalties for Voter Fraud • Someone who registers and votes using false information is committing two felonies. These are Class I felonies. • Someone who intentionally votes twice is also committing a felony. “Intent” is important for a felony violation.
Answers to FAQs • Any voter has a right to receive assistance from a family member or a poll worker. • Voters who have a disability or difficulty reading can ask anyone for help except their boss or union agent. • Voting instructions are available in Spanish. • Due to redistricting, voters may not see candidates they’re used to on their ballot. Check to make sure you received the right ballot if you have any question.
What Shouldn’t Happen • Voter harassment • Of people standing outside the polling place, or • From challenges that target certain kinds of voters • Voters asked for ID who are properly registered. • Very long lines that discourage people from voting. • A voter is told they’re in the wrong precinct and not offered a provisional ballot. • Curbside voting is not available or is very slow.
What Shouldn’t Happen • Purposely passing out misinformation about dates, rules, or polling locations. • A voter is given the wrong ballot. • Assistance from family member or other (non-prohibited) person is not allowed. • Poll workers refuse to give voters provisional ballots, even when asked. • Police intimidation or roadblocks around polling places.
If There Are Problems • Voters or poll monitors should call the national Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. • You can also call Democracy NC at 1-888-OUR-VOTE or State Board of Elections at 1-866-522-4723. • Spanish-speaking voters can call 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA. • If the voter doesn’t want to wait, get their name and number and a brief description of the problem on the Election Protection form.
Provisional Ballots • It’s a back-up, an all-purpose solution to many problems. • Allows people to vote even if their name isn’t on the rolls or if they are in the wrong precinct. • Before the final ballot count, election officials will research the voter’s registration. The voter should receive a way to learn if the provisional ballot counted and, if not, why not. • Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if a voter is denied a provisional ballot or if a polling place runs out of provisional ballots.
Election Day Voter Challenges • Any registered voter in a county may challenge another registered voter. On Election Day, challengers must live in the same precinct as the voter that they challenge. Elections judges, the chief judge, or an assistant may also challenge a voter regardless of what precinct they’re in. • A challenge made on Election Day must be heard and decided in that precinct by the chief judge and election judge before the polls close.
Election Day Voter Challenges • If the challenge is overruled, the voter will be able to vote using a regular ballot. Even if it’s sustained, the voter can ask for a “challenged” ballot. • Any voter challenge decision can be appealed (by either the challenger or challenged voter) to the county Superior Court.
Reasons for Voter Challenges • The voter is not the person they claim to be. • The voter is not a resident of the county or precinct. (Non-residents are allowed to vote at their prior precinct if they have been gone from the precinct for less than 30 days.) • The voter is not 18 on Election Day. • The voter is serving an active felony sentence. • The voter has already voted. • The voter is not a citizen.
Challenge Must Be Proved • Challenger bears burden of proof. • No challenge sustained unless substantiated by proof • In the absence of proof, it is presumed that the person is properly registered.
Watch Out For • A pattern of unfounded or multiple voter challenges at an Early Voting site. • Contact the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or Democracy NC at 1-888-OUR-VOTE if you believe people are engaging in unfounded voter challenges.
We Can Provide You With • An Election Protection sign • Voter’s Bill of Rights flyer in English and Spanish (to hand out to voters) • Voter’s Rights pocket cards • Forms, clipboards, and pens
Election Protection Form • Get as much information as you can before the voter leaves. • Name and phone number of the voter or the person making the complaint. • Name and phone of any witnesses. • Name and phone of any election officials involved in the incident. • You can fill out the rest of the form later. • Also use the form to note general problems at the polling place (broken machines, power outage, etc.)