Although Election Day is only 11 days away, plenty of people in states all across the nation have cast their ballots during early voting in favor of the presidential and local government officials that they want to represent them. And although it isn't even Election Day, some places are reporting cases of voter intimidation. But where is voter intimidation happening? Unfortunately, voter intimidation could be happening at your own polling place this election.
On Thursday, the Democratic National Committee had requested that the federal court put a stop to voter intimidation this election. According to USA Today — the suit, filed against the Republican National Committee, asks "to enforce a consent agreement between the parties." However, no hearing has been set for the lawsuit. While it is unclear whether this agreement will be granted between the parties, it does bring up a great question — where is voter intimidation currently happening in the United States?
Currently, according to NPR, 37 states along with the District of Columbia, are participating in early voting this election — and the turn out is pretty massive. According to NPR, about 40 or 50 million people (or more) will turn out to vote early this election. Some of these people might face (or have faced) voter intimidation.
Reports of voter intimidation across the nation have already emerged. Texas is one state that has had multiple reports of voter intimidation. In Houston, Texas, demands that voters show their IDs at the polls has led to voter intimidation — despite the fact that the law now states that voters do not have to show a photo ID in the state of Texas to vote. A release from the Texas Civil Rights Project shows that this form of voter intimidation is not just happening in Houston — voter intimidation is happening all across the state of Texas just within two days of early voting — between Oct. 24 and 25, six cases of voter intimidation was reported across the state.
According to NBC's tracker of issues that have come up during the election, Texas is the only state so far that has reported voter intimidation being a problem in the election. But according to ATTN, Georgia has experienced voter intimidation this election. According The New York Times, in July, more than 180 black voters in Sparta, Georgia, were questioned about their voter registration, with local deputies demanding to have voters appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights. And this is not to say that more cases of voter intimidation will occur on Election Day. According to NBC News, Donald Trump has called for his supporters to "watch the polls" — therefore making people fearful that this close eye could cause voter suppression or intimidation.
In order to find out where voter intimidation is happening, it is important for people to know how to identify voter intimidation. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, voter intimidation occurs when someone aggressively questions voters about their citizenship and qualifications to vote, spreads false information about voter requirements, displays misleading signs about voter fraud, among other examples.
Voters should not be turned away by voter intimidation and should report any cases that they see. In this election, voter intimidation can occur at any polling place, in any state. People deserve for their vote to be counted and their voices to be heard.