What To Do If You're Turned Away At The Polls

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 8: A voter stops to pet a dog named Bean while he waits for his owner to finish voting at Old First Reformed Church on November 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Americans across the nation are picking their choice for the next president of the United States. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Source: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Voter suppression is a cause for real worry this election season. What should you do if you're turned away at the polls? According to The Daily Dot, getting denied to vote can be more complicated than a random citizen trying to bar you from going inside the building. 

This election is the first without the full Voting Rights Act, an act signed into law in 1965 that outlawed discriminatory voting practices taken up by many southern states after the Civil War. Deemed unnecessary during our modern times, it was taken out of commission, resulting in an increase in voter suppression.

"Confusing, restrictive, or unclear voting laws in states like North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi have cropped up as a result. A total of 14 states have more restrictive election laws than they did in 2012, including brand new voter-ID requirements," The Daily Dot reported. So what should you do if you're turned away?

First, challenge the person that is trying to deny you. The people working at polling places are volunteers, typically not lawyers with legislative knowledge. Don't be afraid to assert your right to vote. In fact, according to the ACLU, many states allow challenged voters to cast regular ballots after providing a sworn statement of their eligibility. If you're not sure how to do that, you can give The Election Protection Hotline a call (1-866-OUR-VOTE or  1-888-VE-Y-VOTA for Spanish speakers) and they will help you with instructions. 

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If that doesn't work, then reach out to those that will be able to assist you from a government level: You local election officials. You can find your election office the Local Election Office search, and they'll give you instructions on how to proceed. 

Afterwards, call the Department of Justice's Voting Rights Hotline to report a voting rights violation.

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And you shouldn't stop it at the DOJ, either. Go to Twitter and make your experience known. Just like how you would complain about an airline losing your bag, you can log an informal complaint against your poling place via social media. "Provide photographic evidence of your polling place and explain your problem (i.e. you were asked for a form of ID that wasn't required," The Daily Dot reported. You can also tag your county and state level officials and political parties in the tweet, grabbing their handles off of a list compiled by @elec_ballots, created by the University of Michigan.

If you get turned away from a polling place, stay calm. It might be frustrating to prove your right to vote, but you do have options.

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