We first ran this helpful list back in 2012. We've slightly updated it for the 2014 mid-term elections. Please share it around wherever you can...
First and foremost:
- If you have problems or see problems at the polls, be sure to report them to 866-OUR-VOTE, or at OurVoteLive.org!
- Catch any problems at the polls on photo or video? Upload it to YouTube and social sites, and tell us and the rest of the world about it!
- Be at the polls when they close and photograph and video tape the results tapes that are printed out from electronic systems. Results have a way of changing between the time they're printed out at the close of polls and the time they show up on the web. Your photographic evidence could help save an election!
- Watching results on the web throughout the night? Take screenshots, save them as you go, and include a timestamp in the filename when you do. Those web results also have a way of changing, sometimes in the wrong direction, throughout the night. Your evidence could help save an election!
Vote on a Paper Ballot!
- In some places, it may be too late to vote on paper ballots. In others, know your rights and whether you are entitled to vote on a paper ballot if you wish, even if they try to direct you towards an electronic voting system. For example, in states like OH and CA every voter may vote on paper if they wish and if they know to ask for one. So (politely) demand a paper ballot! Check with your County Clerk or Sec. of State if you're not sure.
- A touch-screen system with a little paper printout is NOT a paper ballot! Those paper printouts are never counted and your vote will be 100% unverifiable, like Barack Obama's foolishly was in 2012. We made this short toon to explain that point quickly in 2008, so let's roll it out once again...
If You Must Vote on Touch-Screen and Your Vote Flips...
- Try to capture it with your cell phone camera
- Call poll supervisors to observe the problem.
- Fill out a problem report.
- Refuse to vote on that machine.
- Request that the machine be taken out of service.
- Get the serial number of the machine if possible (may be difficult in some cases, but it's usually on the back).
- Tell other voters in line which machine it was and that they should NOT vote on that machine!
- Report it to the county/town election office.
- Report it to the Secretary of State.
- Call local reporters and tell them the story.
- Call 866-OUR-VOTE and tell them.
- Contact bloggers and Election Integrity websites.
- Raise holy hell.
Other Useful Stuff to Keep in Mind
- Make sure you have the exact type of ID you'll need to be able to vote before you leave for the polls. If you're unsure what type of ID is needed, check with your Sec. of State or County Clerk. Google now has a new function to help. Search Google for "Voter ID [STATE NAME]".
- Be prepared for long lines, particularly in states with close elections for Governor and U.S. Senate. Your vote definitely won't get counted, much less accurately, if you leave the line before voting.
- If you're challenged by a pollwatcher, take their picture with your cell phone, get their name, and then report it to 866-OUR-VOTE. But do NOT leave without voting, at the very least on a provisional ballot. But try to vote on a normal ballot, not a provisional ballot, if you possibly can.
- If you're in line when the polls close, you still get to vote. Period.
- Help others stay in line. If you can offer water, folding chairs, a snack, encouragement, etc., to those in line fighting to cast their vote, you're doing a great public service for what's left of our democracy.
- Share this list and/or this blog item with others. Print it out, share it via social networks, etc. to help spread the word.
Election protection begins with you! Good luck! You may need it!
Got any more advice we should add to this list? Let us know in the Comments section...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)