As the U.S. midterm elections approach, voters say they feel heightened concern about impediments to voting, including intimidation at the polls in some places.
A Reuters-Ipsos poll found that of registered voters surveyed, 43% said they felt some concern about threats or violence against voters while voting in-person.
The poll found that around two in every five U.S. voter worried about intimidation at the polls.
In Arizona, which has become a key battleground, officials have asked the federal government to look into a case of voter intimidation.
People in that state were filmed and followed while casting ballots. The complaint says self-appointed monitors called voters "mules," referencing a conspiracy theory related to former President Donald Trump's unfounded claims that he was defeated in the 2020 presidential election because of widespread fraud.
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Experts say if a voter shows up at the polls and finds their eligibility is in question, they should stand their ground calmly. If a voter feels they have been targeted by an erroneous challenge, and know they are qualified to vote and have not yet voted, they should calmly insist.
Jonathan Diaz, the senior legal counsel for voting rights at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center told CNN, “A state cannot just throw out your ballot without notifying you that your vote has been challenged and giving you the chance to prove that you are who you say you are,” he said.
Kathy Boockvar, a former top election official for Pennsylvania told Reuters, "Our country is based on democracy. We should be excited about Election Day."
The ACLUsays people with disabilities have faced some of the greatest barriers to voting.
In 2021, the ACLU said there were over 400 anti-voter measures introduced in various U.S. states, citing research from the Brennan Center for Justice.
Those measures included restricting access to absentee voting, removing Election Day registration, and making it harder to vote in-person, during early voting. There have also been reports of authorities making it a crime to assist voters with disabilities.
There are resources for voters who have difficulties or encounter issues.
A hotline run by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law can advise voters on their rights: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).
Another run by NALEO Educational Fund has English and Spanish speakers available to help: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682).
The Arab American Institute has a hotline that has Arabic and English speakers at: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287).
Another hotline run by APIA Vote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC is speakers of Mandarin, Cantonese, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and English: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683).
The Brennan Center says the Freedom to Vote Act is a package of voting reforms that ensure a minimum national standard for voting access for Americans.
More information on the Freedom to Vote Act can be found at the Brennan Center for Justice website.