As the 2018 midterm elections approach, we’re seeing a growing range of threats to voting: voter suppression laws around the country are restricting access to the ballot; in several states, overzealous voter purges risk disenfranchising millions of eligible voters. And although intelligence officials have warned that foreign adversaries are likely to attack our election systems again, few states have done enough to keep the vote secure.
But there are ways to make your voice heard. Here’s a useful guide to ensure you are prepared today!
1. Double Check Your Registration and Polling Place
Problems with the registration lists are some of the most common issues on Election Day. Use vote.org to make sure you are registered at your current address and find your polling place!
If you think you have been wrongly purged from the voter registration lists — check to see if your state is one the 15 states with same-day voter registration. If your state has same-day voter registration, you should be able to register and vote as you would normally. If your state does not have same-day voter registration, make sure to ask for a provisional ballot.
1A. Order an Uber or Lyft for a Discounted Ride to Your Polling Center
If you’re using Uber, the discount only covers a single ride and can only be used on the cheapest option available. So, it’s likely you’ll be taking an Uber POOL. To take advantage of your discount, first, make sure you have the latest version of the app downloaded. Then, you’ll be able to find Uber’s Election Day promo code, which will be available on the app on Election Day. From there, you can go to your menu, tap “Payment,” and add the promo code. If you’re using Lyft, users can find their promo codes on BuzzFeed here by entering their zip code. Then, users can go to the menu on their Lyft apps and enter the promo code there.
2. Report Misinformation
Only rely on trustworthy sources to get information about how to cast a ballot. Always double check your source. Be proactive and report any misinformation you see. If you see any false information or voter suppression efforts to deter people from voting on social media, notify the platform so they can take it down.
3. Know Your Rights at the Polls
Every state has different rules about whether and how individuals can serve as poll watchers or challenge the eligibility of targeted voters at the polls or before Election Day. Regardless of what each state’s procedures are, federal and state laws affecting the whole country prohibit conduct that intimidates voters, targets voters based on race or other characteristics or intentionally blocks eligible citizens from voting.
Under the Voting Rights Act, private actors and government officials are prohibited from engaging in any efforts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce a voter to vote or not vote, or to vote for or against a particular candidate. Federal law also prohibits anyone using race, ethnicity, national origin, language, or religion as the basis for challenging whether that person is qualified to vote.
4. Vote with a Provisional Ballot If Necessary
If you believe you are incorrectly turned away at the polls, you are entitled to a provisional or affidavit ballot. Ask your local poll workers why you are not able to cast a regular ballot and follow up with your election officials to make sure your ballot is counted.
5. Alert Poll Workers of Any Issues
Whether or not there are additional attacks against our election system, there will inevitably be some failures. There are reports that some voting machines in Georgia recorded votes incorrectly in the state’s closely-fought and high-profile governor’s race. Vote flipping is a technological issue. If voters see their machines flip votes at their polling location, they should tell poll workers, who in turn should take the compromised system out of commission. They can correct the error, fix the machine or provide you with an emergency paper ballot.
6. Call Election Protection If You Need Assistance
Long lines? Other questions? If you have any issues at the polls call the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.