The 2020 election saw more voters exercising their rights than ever before despite a worldwide pandemic. Absentee voting increased, as well as vote-by-mail in many cities to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.In every election, there are reports of problems with voting machines, identification, and polling places. This year was no exception, with more irregularities also shown and broadcast on social media.
But what about the person who was, for whatever reason, unable to properly cast their vote?
Who Can Vote In An Election
Any US citizen, including naturalized citizens, who are over the age of 18 has the right to vote in any US election. This is true whether the election is local, state, or national. You are required to register to vote in the area where you live or re-register when you move to a new address and/or county.Two-thirds of US states require some form of identification when voting in person.The exception is someone with a felony, and they are not allowed to vote in Missouri while incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. If someone is jailed for a misdemeanor charge, they are prohibited from voting while incarcerated. Once the sentence is completed, an individual must re-register to vote without any special documentation (other than ID.)Individuals who are not US citizens have green cards, or who have renounced (given up) their US citizenship for whatever reason are not eligible to vote in any federal election. Legal permanent residents are allowed to vote in some local elections in specific states, but not federal elections.
Your Civil Right To Vote
Civil liberties are set out in the Bill of Rights, and includes the right to vote. Civil rights refer to protections under the law, so the term is actually a bit of a misnomer.It is illegal for anyone to refuse to allow you to vote, circumvent your right to vote or to attempt to dissuade you from voting. This can include questioning your qualifications, including citizenship, a disability, and any criminal record.You have the right to request assistance from a poll worker if you need it, i.e., made a mistake and need a new ballot, or if an electronic machine is malfunctioning and you require a paper ballot.Additionally, if you are in line at the polls at closing time, stay there until you have voted. You cannot be dismissed if you haven’t voted yet.More information on voting laws is available at USA.gov and at the ACLU’s website.
Convincing someone—or a specific group of voters—to abstain from their vote is known as “voter suppression.” Suppression tactics can take many different forms, including making voting more difficult by removing polling stations, imposing “literacy tests” to voters, and charging a “poll tax.” The Voting Rights Act of 1965 ended these tactics, but attempts continue.Contemporary voter suppression can also take the form of disseminating misinformation about candidates, issues, and other election-related actions. These are activities intended to spread misleading information and discourage specific voters from going to the polls.Social media has also been found to foster the spread of false information, or restricting information about specific candidates and/or parties. Facebook has recently employed “fact-checkers” to counteract potentially false information in regards to election-related topics after it came under fire for not moderating information presented on its platform.The US Department of Justice Voting Section oversees voting, including different forms of voting suppression.
Defend Your Civil Rights In Kansas City
No one has the right to deny you the right to vote, or any other civil right. But if you’ve been the victim of violations at the hands of a government worker or official, we’re ready to help. Our civil rights attorneys are ready to stand by your side and make sure your rights are protected. Call The Popham Law Firm today at (816) 221-2288, or use our online contact form.