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Analysis

Voting Problems 2018

From purges to voter intimidation to machine snafus, voting issues have proliferated this cycle. A Brennan Center roundup.

November 5, 2018
As Elec­tion Day approaches, obstacles continue to make it diffi­cult for eligible voters to cast a ballot. This year, voters in 24 states will have to navig­ate recently adop­ted laws that restrict voting access; in nine of those states, it will be harder to vote than it was in 2016. In addi­tion to track­ing these laws (and litig­a­tion and legis­la­tion affect­ing voting access), the Bren­nan Center has been track­ing the full array of efforts nation­wide to restrict access to voting. These efforts have been more wide­spread and intense than in any other elec­tion in recent memory. Below is a non-exhaust­ive list of recent efforts to restrict voting rights over the past three months, includ­ing actual and possible incid­ents of voter suppres­sion. For a full summary of the new legal restric­tions voters face this year, look here.
 
 

Voter Purges 

In the lead-up to this elec­tion, there has been a dramatic spike in voter purges, the often-flawed prac­tice of clean­ing up the voter rolls by delet­ing names of voters who may have moved or other­wise become ineligible. Done badly, purges can disen­fran­chise large numbers of eligible citizens. A Bren­nan Center report issued this summer found a 33 percent increase in purges nation­wide over the past decade. In a number of states, purge prac­tices were espe­cially troub­ling:
  • Increased purge rates in states previ­ously covered by the pre-clear­ance provi­sion of the Voting Rights Act: Since 2012, states that had previ­ously been subject to extra scru­tiny under the federal Voting Rights Act because of a history of voting discrim­in­a­tion had much higher purge rates than other states; had they purged at the same rate as the rest of the coun­try, 2 million fewer voters would have been purged between 2012 and 2016.
  • Espe­cially high purge rates in South­ern States: Between 2016 and 2018, the Bren­nan Center found Geor­gia, North Caro­lina, and Flor­ida removed an unusu­ally high number of names from their voter rolls. Both Geor­gia and North Caro­lina removed over 10 percent of regis­tra­tions from their voter lists, and Flor­ida removed more than 7 percent. Since 2015, Alabama elec­tion offi­cials purged 658,000 voters, accord­ing to the state’s chief elec­tion offi­cial; this number is dramatic given that the state had only 3.3 million registered voters in 2016.
  • Indi­ana’s prob­lem­atic purge law: After the 2016 elec­tion, Indi­ana passed a law that would require elec­tion offi­cials to purge voters using the notori­ously error-prone Crosscheck program developed by Kansas Secret­ary of State Kris Kobach, without offer­ing voters the notice and wait­ing period required by federal law. One study found Crosscheck would block 300 legal votes for every double vote preven­ted. The Bren­nan Center, on behalf of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, chal­lenged this prac­tice in a lawsuit filed last year. Although not yet used, the law was in effect up through this summer, when the court blocked it. An appeal is currently pending. 
  • Other states have a history of prob­lem­atic Crosscheck rules: In the past, Maine and Alabama elec­tion offi­cials had rules that allowed using Crosscheck to imme­di­ately purge voters without provid­ing notice or a wait­ing period. The Bren­nan Center and part­ners sent letters to both states, and both said that they do not have plans to use the data­base at this time. 
  • Ohio law allows voter purges: Ohio is enfor­cing a law that requires elec­tion offi­cials to begin a purge process for voters who missed one elec­tion. The Supreme Court upheld the law against a legal chal­lenge earlier this year. After plaintiffs filed an appeal on a narrower issue in the case, a court ordered Ohio elec­tion offi­cials to count 2018 ballots from some of the voters who had been purged. 
  • New York­ers continue to exper­i­ence impact of 2016 purge: During the Septem­ber primary, some registered voters repor­ted that they were not found on the voter rolls, had regis­tra­tions wrongly trans­ferred to new elec­tion districts, or were not given the right primary ballots for their party affil­i­ation. This follows the notori­ous Brook­lyn purge of the 2016 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion, during which 200,000 voters were improp­erly purged from the voter rolls. 
  • West Virginia voter list main­ten­ance may have removed eligible voters: Last month, Secret­ary of State Mac Warner repor­ted elec­tion offi­cials had removed more than 100,000 regis­tra­tions from the voter rolls in the last two years. Some indi­vidu­als repor­ted issues confirm­ing their regis­tra­tion status. After contact­ing counties through­out the state, we discovered elec­tion offi­cials may have incon­sist­ent meth­ods of restor­ing the regis­tra­tions of voters wrongly removed. It is unclear how this large removal will impact voters on Elec­tion Day. 

Geor­gia

Voters in the state have continu­ously been subject to laws, policies, and legal action aimed at suppress­ing an indi­vidu­al’s abil­ity to cast a ballot. Secret­ary of State Brian Kemp has come under extens­ive criti­cism for his contro­ver­sial actions contrib­ut­ing to voter suppres­sion lead­ing up to the 2018 elec­tion while running for governor. Here is a summary of recent suppress­ive actions in Geor­gia: 

  • “Exact match” prob­lem: Geor­gia is enfor­cing an unusual policy of hold­ing up regis­tra­tions of voters if their applic­a­tion inform­a­tion does not exactly match the inform­a­tion on other govern­ment records. Under this flawed policy, about 53,000 regis­tra­tions are still “pending.” Seventy percent of those applic­a­tions being held are from African Amer­ic­ans. While those applic­ants can vote, they will exper­i­ence addi­tional obstacles. As a result of a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups, those in “pending” status because the state was unable to verify their citizen­ship through this match process will be able to vote a regu­lar ballot on Elec­tion Day by provid­ing proof of citizen­ship at the polls.
  • Threat to polling loca­tions: Earlier this year, a consult­ant recom­men­ded Randolph County, a major­ity black, rural county in South Geor­gia, close seven of the nine voting loca­tions due to ADA compli­ance issues. In response, several organ­iz­a­tions filed a lawsuit against the state and Secret­ary of State Brian Kemp. After signi­fic­ant public outcry, elec­tion offi­cials rejec­ted the proposal and fired the consult­ant. 
  • Absentee ballot rejec­tions in Gwin­nett County: Elec­tion offi­cials rejec­ted an unusu­ally high number of absentee ballots in Gwin­nett County, 465 of which were for reas­ons includ­ing “mismatched” signa­tures, miss­ing addresses, and incor­rect birth years. In Geor­gia, the law requires county elec­tion offi­cials to reject absentee ballots that have signa­tures that do not match the signa­ture on file. As a result of a current lawsuit, county offi­cials must now treat absentee ballots with mismatched signa­tures as provi­sional ballots and contact voters whose ballots have been flagged.  
  • Prevent­ing access to the polls: In Jeffer­son County, a senior center­dir­ector, at the request of county clerks, ordered about 40 African Amer­ican senior citizens off a bus that was trans­port­ing them to the polls during the early voting period. Despite being planned by a nonpar­tisan organ­iz­a­tion, county clerks claimed the event was “polit­ical activ­ity,” which is not allowed during a county-sponsored event (the senior center is oper­ated by Jeffer­son County). Those voters were unable to vote that day.
  • State elec­tion offi­cial exposes partis­an­ship: Secret­ary of State Brian Kemp stated at a public event that his gubernat­orial oppon­ent’s voter regis­tra­tion effort “contin­ues to concern us, espe­cially if every­body uses and exer­cises their right to vote.” This is an example of the impact Kemp believes wide­spread turnout will have on his campaign and provides evid­ence for how his perspect­ive may influ­ence his actions as secret­ary of state during the general elec­tion.
  • Miss­ing vote-by-mail applic­a­tions: Party offi­cials repor­ted 4,700 miss­ing vote-by-mail applic­a­tions in Dekalb County. Some offi­cials involved stated that county offi­cials would explain the situ­ation to the thou­sands of voters, although this course of action has not been confirmed by the county elec­tions board. 
  • Publi­cized secur­ity breach: On Novem­ber 3, reports of a failed cyber­at­tack on the regis­tra­tion system in Geor­gia surfaced. Rather than try to fix the situ­ation, Secret­ary Kemp announced he would launch an invest­ig­a­tion into the Demo­cratic Party of Geor­gia and contac­ted the FBI. The polit­ical party has strongly denied these alleg­a­tions, and Kemp provided no evid­ence to substan­ti­ate his claim. 

North Caro­lina 

Voters in North Caro­lina continue to exper­i­ence chal­lenges this elec­tion season. Reports of mislead­ing inform­a­tion, voter intim­id­a­tion, contro­ver­sial policies, and legal action have all made it more diffi­cult to cast a ballot that counts.

  • Restrict­ive and mislead­ing consti­tu­tional amend­ments: The state Legis­lature placed six consti­tu­tional amend­ments on the Novem­ber ballot, includ­ing an amend­ment that would require voters to present photo ID at the polls and one that would give the state General Assembly the abil­ity to appoint members of the elec­tion board. In writ­ing these amend­ments, GOP lawmakers took over this respons­ib­il­ity from other state offi­cials, some say with the intent to mislead voters.
  • Decrease in early voting sites: A North Caro­lina law created uniform early voting hours on week­days. This new policy is expec­ted to reduce the number of early voting sites by 20 percent when compared to the number open in 2014. For example, two of the five early voting sites in Gaston County have been closed, and Iredell County has cut half of its early voting sites. 
  • Elec­tion offi­cials attemp­ted to remove voters: Prior to this elec­tion season, county offi­cials were able to process chal­lenges made by voters in large batches that caused purge-like results. A judge perman­ently blocked this provi­sion, and now elec­tion offi­cials must give chal­lenged voters a notice and wait­ing period, and must complete removals at least 90 days before federal elec­tions. 
  • Release of mislead­ing inform­a­tion: Lt. Governor Dan Forest released a video funded by the NC Repub­lic Coun­cil of State Commit­tee titled Voter Fraud 101 that gives instruc­tions on how to commit voter fraud. This advert­ise­ment, origin­ally released on Face­book, has since been determ­ined to have targeted “North Carolini­ans inter­ested in Donald Trump.” Forest and others are clearly continu­ing to promote the myth of wide­spread voter fraud. 
  • Poll worker incid­ent in Frank­lin County: A poll worker was removed from an early voting site for allegedly intim­id­at­ing black voters. This indi­vidual repeatedly asked several black voters to spell their names. 
  • Voter intim­id­a­tion results in arrest: In Mecklen­burg County, three white indi­vidu­als aggress­ively confron­ted a black polling place volun­teer at a Steele Creek poll and made racial slurs toward him, as well as exposed a BB gun in a holster. The indi­vidual who exposed the BB gun is currently in custody and was charged with ethnic intim­id­a­tion. In response, the local police depart­ment plans to devote more resources to monit­or­ing polling places in Char­lotte. 
  • Federal subpoenas burden elec­tion offi­cials: In August, counties in North Caro­lina were served with subpoenas issued by the U.S. Attor­ney’s Office request­ing voter records and ballots be turned over to U.S. Immig­ra­tion and Customs Enforce­ment by Septem­ber 25. The state offi­cials determ­ined that the response would be over 20 million pages and place a signi­fic­ant burden on county elec­tion offi­cials in the months lead­ing up to the elec­tion. On Septem­ber 6, federal author­it­ies decided to give counties until Janu­ary to respond to this records request. 

Students

Elec­tion offi­cials in some states have made it diffi­cult for a young voter to cast a ballot. Partic­u­larly, student voters in New Hamp­shire, Texas, Flor­ida, and Michigan have been subject to suppress­ive policies lead­ing up to the general elec­tion. 

  • Change to resid­ency require­ments impact voter regis­tra­tion: New Hamp­shire enacted a law last year that makes it more oner­ous for voters to estab­lish that they are “domi­ciled” in the state for purposes of regis­ter­ing to vote. A judge briefly blocked the state from imple­ment­ing this law prior to the upcom­ing elec­tion. But the state Supreme Court ordered the law to stay in effect until after the Novem­ber 6 elec­tion.
  • Regis­tra­tion confu­sion and few early voting sites: At Prairie View A&M Univer­sity, a histor­ic­ally black univer­sity in Texas, students were instruc­ted to use one of two univer­sity build­ing addresses for their regis­tra­tion applic­a­tions in the absence of indi­vidual mail­boxes. In Octo­berreports emerged that some students would have to fill out change-of-address forms on Elec­tion Day. After public oppos­i­tion, state offi­cials announced students would not need to fill out the form on Elec­tion Day. Despite this victory, state offi­cials continue to make it diffi­cult for Texas students to vote. County elec­tion offi­cials failed to provide an early voting loca­tion on campus or in Prairie View City for part of the early voting period. As a result, civil rights organ­iz­a­tions filed a lawsuit against Waller County and claim this lack of resources disen­fran­chises African Amer­ican voters. County commis­sion­ers decided to extend early voting hours and dates shortly after the lawsuit was filed. 
  • Limited early voting site oper­a­tion prevents students from voting: In San Marcos, Texas State University’s tempor­ary early voting site was only open for three days, as opposed to the two weeks before Elec­tion Day that most polling places in the state are open. Long lines preven­ted some from cast­ing a ballot, and with the only other polling site miles away, students decided to contact county stake­hold­ers and request the polling loca­tion be reopened. On Octo­ber 26, reports surfaced that a local GOP pres­id­ent sent an email to groups urging them to contact county commis­sion­ers and request they not extendvoting times for students at this loca­tion because exten­sions would “favor the Demo­crats.” 
  • Early voting sites not allowed on campus in Flor­ida: Prior to this year, Secret­ary of State Ken Detzner stated local elec­tion offi­cials could not hold early voting on public college campuses. In July 2018, however, a federal judge in Flor­ida blocked the state’s “blanket ban” and ordered the state to allow local offi­cials to site early voting loca­tions on campuses. 
  • First-time voter elec­tion policies impact Michigan voters: Students at the Univer­sity of Michigan and Michigan State Univer­sity filed a lawsuit claim­ing a 20-year-old state voting law that requires some first-time voters to cast a ballot in person and mandates a voter’s regis­tra­tion address match the one on their driver’s license, viol­ates the First and 26thAmend­ment. The case is currently pending. 

Online Vote Suppres­sion 

This elec­tion cycle has seen an increase in the use of online social media plat­forms to suppress the vote. In recent weeks, we have heard reports of both foreign and domestic entit­ies involved in this form of voter suppres­sion. 

  • Russian organ­iz­a­tion used social media to incite conflict: In Virginia, Elena Khusyaynova, has been charged with conspir­acy to defraud the United States by inter­fer­ing in the 2018 elec­tion through “Project Lakhta,” which published misin­form­a­tion online on polit­ical issues and created fake social media profiles on multiple social media plat­forms. The accounts incited conflict on several polit­ical issues, and at times promoted oppos­ing view­points. These social media accounts reached over one million people. Yevgeniy Prigozhin, asso­ci­ate of Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin, funded Khusyaynova. The U.S. attor­ney’s office in the East­ern District of Virginia and the Justice Depart­ment are prosec­ut­ing the case. 
  • Fake Tweets spread false inform­a­tion about voting sites: Twit­ter suspen­ded 1,500 accounts asso­ci­ated with a right-wing inter­net trolling campaign. The accounts posed as liberal activ­ists and spread false inform­a­tion about the midterms, such as tweet­ing the incor­rect date of the upcom­ing elec­tion: “Get out and vote Nov 7th! #BlueT­sunam­i2018.…” 
  • Face­book polit­ical ads are spread­ing misin­form­a­tion: Accord­ing to this news outlet, a partisan organ­iz­a­tion has placed polit­ical ads on Face­book with mislead­ing inform­a­tion on candid­ates. The organ­iz­a­tion behind the ads has a purpose­fully nonpar­tisan sound­ing name. 

Mislead­ing Inform­a­tion

Another form of voter suppres­sion includes the commu­nic­a­tion of false inform­a­tion to voters. Registered voters in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, and Texas have been subjec­ted to inform­a­tion that may prevent them from cast­ing a ballot on Elec­tion Day. 

  • Incor­rect polling address inform­a­tion sent to voters in Pennsylvania: Follow­ing the change of 33 polling places in Allegheny County, the county elec­tion offi­cials sent letters to voters with polling loca­tion address errors. The offi­cials have since sent correc­ted letters.  
  • Mailer includes inac­cur­ate inform­a­tion regard­ing voter ID in Illinois: Kend­all County Clerk Debbie Gillette sent out a mailer to voters that indic­ated they would have to “present iden­ti­fic­a­tion to the elec­tion judge” at the polls. In response, the ACLU of Illinois sent a letter to the county clerk indic­at­ing the need to correct the mislead­ing voter ID instruc­tions, and county offi­cials removed the mislead­ing inform­a­tion from the county’s website. Voters do not have to present ID to cast a ballot in Novem­ber. 
  • In New Jersey, mislead­ing mail-in ballot inform­a­tion sent to voters: County clerks sent letters to voters with inac­cur­ate inform­a­tion regard­ing mail-in ballot protocol. The governor later correc­ted the inform­a­tion and the Depart­ment of State sent a memo to offi­cials to clarify the law. 
  • Voters sent false ballot inform­a­tion in Missouri: Ten thou­sand voters received incor­rect absentee ballot due date inform­a­tion from the Missouri Repub­lican Party. The post­cards claim absentee ballots were due one week before the true dead­line. Voters who received these mail­ers have been direc­ted to the Secret­ary of State’s website and webpage by the RNC.

—   In addi­tion, a state court in Missouri ordered the state to stop dissem­in­at­ing mislead­ing inform­a­tion suggest­ing that voters without photo ID would not be able to vote.

—   Simil­arly, state courts in Iowa prohib­ited the state from advert­ising that voters would need certain ID to vote in this year’s elec­tion.

  • Montana voters received incor­rect absentee ballot inform­a­tion: A polit­ical party sent mail­ers to voters that contained incor­rect absentee ballot return date inform­a­tion. Party members later admit­ted the mistake and are contact­ing voters by phone and mail to clarify.
  •  In New York, a candid­ate sent a mailer with inac­cur­ate inform­a­tion: Accord­ing to this news source, the mailer contained the wrong absentee ballot dead­line. The campaign later admit­ted the mistake and sent mail­ers with the correct inform­a­tion. 
  • Ohio voters received mail­ers with false inform­a­tion: A polit­ical party sent voters mail­ers that incor­rectly stated a voter’s abil­ity to return a completed absentee ballot at the polls on Elec­tion Day. A party repres­ent­at­ive stated they will encour­age voters to return completed absentee ballots ahead of the elec­tion because voters will have to cast a provi­sional ballot if they bring a completed absentee ballot to the polls. 

Language Access

Voters should have access to voting mater­i­als and trans­lat­ors in their preferred language to ensure they are able to cast a ballot. However, counties in Texas and Flor­ida did make adequate mater­i­als access­ible to, in this case, Span­ish speak­ers in the months lead­ing up to the 2018 elec­tion.  

  • Inad­equate online Span­ish trans­la­tions in Texas: After determ­in­ing 36 county websites lacked suffi­cient Span­ish language resources, the ACLU sent notice letters to county offi­cials. Many counties respon­ded posit­ively and are work­ing toward making their websites more access­ible to Span­ish speak­ers. 
  • Lack of Span­ish language mater­i­als in Flor­ida: In the after­math of Hurricane Maria, thou­sands of Puerto Ricans who moved to Flor­ida may not have been able to exer­cise their right to vote without Span­ish-language voting mater­i­als. To ensure these poten­tial voters had all neces­sary resources, voting rights groups filed a lawsuit against state offi­cials in order to compel the state to provide Span­ish-language mater­i­als. A court ruled the counties must print and provide the Span­ish-language voting mater­i­als in time for the Novem­ber elec­tion. The case is ongo­ing on other claims. 

Regis­tra­tion and Iden­ti­fic­a­tion Issues 

In several states, state and elec­tion offi­cials have imple­men­ted restrict­ive regis­tra­tion and iden­ti­fic­a­tion policies or did not approve applic­a­tions. These policies and actions effect­ively disen­fran­chise voters and may prevent thou­sands from cast­ing a ballot this Novem­ber. 

  • Voter ID law impacts Native Amer­ic­ans in North Dakota: In 2017, North Dakota enacted a new voter ID law. Among other things, the law requires voters to present an ID that includes a resid­en­tial street address to vote. This law would dispro­por­tion­ately impact Native Amer­ican communit­ies within the state because many members of these communit­ies do not have street addresses. The Native Amer­ican Rights Fund filed a lawsuit seek­ing to block the law, and a federal district court blocked the resid­en­tial street address require­ment. A Court of Appeals panel halted the district court’s order, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that ruling. In a final effort to relieve voters from this require­ment, the Spirit Lake Tribe filed a lawsuit in district court, seek­ing to block the applic­a­tion of the resid­en­tial street address require­ment to Native Amer­ic­ans living on reser­va­tions, but a judge denied the request. It is estim­ated that 5,000 Native Amer­ican voters will need to obtain qual­i­fy­ing ID before Elec­tion Day. 
  • Kris Kobach enforced law that disen­fran­chised thou­sands of voters: Kansas Secret­ary of State Kris Kobach’s enforce­ment of a proof-of-citizen­ship law denied more than 35,000 poten­tial voters from regis­ter­ing and cast­ing a ballot in the lead up to the 2016 elec­tion. The law was struck down this past June after a judge found the law viol­ated the National Voter Regis­tra­tion Act and the U.S. Consti­tu­tion. 
  • State offi­cials reject online regis­tra­tions in Texas: Days before the regis­tra­tion dead­line, offi­cials rejec­ted 2,400 online regis­tra­tions submit­ted by Vote.org due to online signa­ture issues, accord­ing to Vote.org. The organ­iz­a­tion quickly changed their online regis­tra­tion process. Although state offi­cials have determ­ined these regis­tra­tions invalid, county offi­cials in Travis decided to accept about 800 regis­tra­tion applic­a­tions from the organ­iz­a­tion. 
  • State offi­cial in Arizona failed to contact voters to confirm address: Civil rights organ­iz­a­tions filed a lawsuit after learn­ing Secret­ary of State Michele Reagan failed to update addresses of over 500,000 regis­tra­tions. U.S. District Judge James Teil­borg rejec­ted a request to send address update mail­ers to voters. 
  • Voter ID law chal­lenged in Missouri: Prior­it­ies USA filed a lawsuit in June 2018 against the state that chal­lenged a voter ID law. The judge struck down part of the law that required voters without ID to sign a confus­ing affi­davit and prohib­ited state offi­cials from dissem­in­at­ing mislead­ing iden­ti­fic­a­tion inform­a­tion about the ID law. 
  • In Arkan­sas, voter ID law in effect during the 2018 elec­tion: In 2017, Arkan­sas passed a new voter ID law. A voter filed a lawsuit claim­ing the law viol­ated the state consti­tu­tion, but the state Supreme Court allowed the law to go into place. Voters will have to comply with the iden­ti­fic­a­tion require­ment during the general elec­tion.  
  • High voter regis­tra­tion form rejec­tion rate in Tennessee: This Octo­ber, the Tennessee Black Voter Project filed a lawsuit after 55 percent of regis­tra­tion applic­a­tions from the organ­iz­a­tion’s voter drive were iden­ti­fied as invalid. The organ­iz­a­tion believed the Shelby County Elec­tion Commis­sion iden­ti­fied applic­a­tions as incom­plete for a vari­ety of fairly minor reas­ons. An initial court ruling required county elec­tion offi­cials give voters the oppor­tun­ity to update any defi­cien­cies in their applic­a­tion on Elec­tion Day. Follow­ing an appeal, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ordered voters whose applic­a­tions were rejec­ted must vote a provi­sional ballot and will not get the oppor­tun­ity to update any defi­cien­cies in their applic­a­tion on Elec­tion Day. 
  • Computer glitch in Mary­land impacted thou­sands of voters: The Mary­land Motor Vehicle Admin­is­tra­tion failed to send changes voters made in their address and party affil­i­ation to the state elec­tions board due to a computer error. As a result, an estim­ated 80,000 voters were impacted by the computer glitch and had to cast provi­sional ballots in the June primary elec­tion. In response, state offi­cials sent emails to a major­ity of those affected to ensure their regis­tra­tion was up-to-date.

Voter Chal­lenges/Intim­id­a­tion

Another form of voter suppres­sion are voter chal­lenges, which occur when an indi­vidual chal­lenges another’s regis­tra­tion status. In addi­tion to this suppress­ive tactic, voters are at times subject to outright intim­id­a­tion that can prevent them from safely cast­ing their vote. 

  • Reports of intim­id­at­ing flyers in Wiscon­sin: Indi­vidu­als in Milwau­kee repor­ted receiv­ing flyers that stated Immig­ra­tion and Customs Enforce­ment would be at polling loca­tions. ICE proved these flyers contained false inform­a­tion: “ICE does not patrol or conduct enforce­ment at polling loca­tions. Any flyers or advert­ise­ments claim­ing other­wise are false.”
  • Chal­lenges to regis­tra­tions in Texas result in suspen­sions: County Tax Assessor-Collector Ann Harris Bennett prema­turely placed 1,735 voters on a suspen­sion list as a result of a chal­lenge of 4,000 regis­tra­tions in July. Accord­ing to this state­ment, the Repub­lican Party ballot secur­ity commit­tee chair­man “involved using Repub­lic­ans he appoints to the Ballot Board to review provi­sional ballots result­ing from suspen­ded voting statuses.” Harris­Ben­nett claimed that the prema­ture suspen­sions resul­ted from a computer glitch and that the prob­lem has been fixed.
  • Extreme levels of voter intim­id­a­tion in Texas: In Dallas County, voters have repor­ted incid­ents of voter intim­id­a­tion. At three polling sites, voters have been subjec­ted to elec­tion­eer­ing, harass­ment, and intim­id­a­tion from indi­vidu­als outside the polls. One elec­tion offi­cial stated this level of voter intim­id­a­tion is rather extreme: “I’ve been here for 30 years, and this harass­ment that’s going on, I haven’t ever seen the likes of this.”
  • Voter chal­lenges leave some ‘fear­ful’ in Color­ado: Earlier this year, voters subjec­ted to chal­lenges repor­ted intense invest­ig­a­tion efforts that left many in the community fear­ful. Although Secret­ary of State Suzanne Staiert has declared four indi­vidu­als’ regis­tra­tions valid, she has asked the U.S. Attor­ney’s office to invest­ig­ate. 
  • Candid­ate accused of voter intim­id­a­tion in Hawaii: Voters in House District 30 filed a lawsuit in Hawaii Supreme Court against State Rep. Romy Cachola, who they claimed engaged in voter fraud, coer­cion, and intim­id­a­tion during the primary elec­tion. On August 31, the Hawaii Supreme Court dismissed the case. 

Polling Places

For in-person voting, it is essen­tial that registered voters be able to access polling loca­tions. However, poll clos­ures and natural disasters at times make it diffi­cult for voters to cast a ballot on Elec­tion Day. 

Single polling place moved for a city in Kansas: In Dodge City, part of Ford County, Kansas, elec­tion offi­cials have moved the one polling site in a city of 27,000 resid­ents, a major­ity of whom are Hispanic, to outside the city limits and one mile away from the nearest bus stop. Civil rights organ­iz­a­tions filed a lawsuit against the county in order to open another polling site in the city. This follows months of contact and letters between civil rights organ­iz­a­tions and county offi­cials. Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox forwar­ded one such message to Bryan Caskey, the Kansas Director of Elec­tions, with a dismissive message, “This is what I got in the mail from ACLU. LOL.” This lawsuit is currently pending. However, a monitor from the U.S. Attor­ney’s office will observe the elec­tion. Recent reports from newly registered voters indic­ate county offi­cials are send­ing offi­cial certi­fic­ates that contain the incor­rect polling address. 

(Image: Craig Mitchell­dyer/Getty)