Election Protection Opportunities

LWVMA is partnering again this year with Lawyers for Civil Rights and the Safe Elections Network to make sure the election runs smoothly and fairly. There are three options for volunteering this year:

  • Statewide hotline: Troubleshoot Election-Day issues from your home
  • Mobile field program: Independently observe multiple polling locations for outdoor violations
  • Social media and news monitoring: Monitor news and social media platforms to report election-day issues. Sign up for training here.

League members are an important part of the election protection volunteer corps. Help support voters in real time. Volunteer via the Safe Elections Network here.

Interested in volunteering as a poll monitor? The ACLU of Massachusetts is recruiting and hosting volunteer trainings. Training sessions are listed here.

Massachusetts state law guarantees voters about rights at the polls and protections under the law (MA voting rights flyers in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and other languages):

  • Massachusetts state laws prohibit the intimidation of voters and interference in the duties of election officers. Violations are punishable by fines or imprisonment. Both federal and state laws protect citizens against threats and coercion, including verbal or physical confrontation, and requests for documentation where none is required.
  • If someone interferes with your right to vote through threats, intimidation or coercion, or you become aware of any election interference, contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Division at (617) 963-2917. (If you need immediate assistance, dial 911 or contact your local police department.)
  • Massachusetts law requires that local police officers be at polling places to assist local election officials and assure that voters are not obstructed. However, police officers working at election sites are prohibited from interfering with or intimidating voters. Police are generally barred from entering an immediate voting area, unless the site’s chief election official has requested their help.
  • State law requires that all elections be conducted in a manner open to public observation. Poll observers are allowed inside polling places, but under no circumstances can observers intimidate, threaten or coerce voters. Observers can be removed for conduct that is disorderly or obstructs voter access.
  • The Voting Rights Act permits federal observers to monitor voting conditions in certain eligible jurisdictions to ensure that the right to vote is protected.
  • Federal laws bar federal employees and the military from using their official powers to interfere with an election or intimidate voters. Armed federal law enforcement officers are barred from polling sites except to “repel armed enemies of the United States.” Federal, state and local administrative employees face criminal sanctions if they interfere with a Presidential or Congressional election.
  • Massachusetts law makes it illegal for groups of people to organize as private militias without permission from the state. All 50 states prohibit private, unauthorized militias from engaging in activities reserved for the state militia, including law enforcement.

Here is a two-page summary: AG Advisory on Poll Monitoring and Intimidation (PDF).

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