When elections are fair, voters are respected and every legitimate vote is counted. Unfortunately, some voters are misled, become confused, or get turned away at the polls. Sometimes the cause is a lack of good information; sometimes political groups purposefully deceive people they don’t want to vote – it has happened here in North Carolina.
Election Day Hotline
A national network of voting-rights groups operates an Election Protection hotline on Election Day during major election years. They have attorneys who can respond quickly to complaints from voters and to activities that suppress voting, such as a police road block near a polling place.
If you have a problem voting on Election Day, call the national Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) or call the NC Hotline 888-OUR-VOTE.
For Election Protection Hotlines with help in other languages, see the following:
- 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) – English. Led by the Lawyers’ Committee
For more information, visit: www.866ourvote.org
- 888-Ve-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) – Bilingual: English & Spanish. Led NALEO Education Fund.
- 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) – Bilingual assistance is available in English, Mandarin (普通話), Cantonese (廣東話), Korean (한국어), Vietnamese (tiếng Việt), Tagalog, Urdu (اردو), Hindi (हिंदी), and Bengali/Bangla (বাংলা). – Led by APIAVote and Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC). For more information, visit: apiavote.org/hotline
- 1-844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) Bilingual: English and Arabic. Led by the Arab American Institute #YallaVote. For more information, visit: aaiusa.org/yalla_vote
Bad rumors, good advice
Here are examples of false rumors: You cannot vote if you have unpaid traffic tickets, or unpaid child support, or defaulted on your mortgage – these are all false.
Your voting rights
Click here for a one-page list of your basic voting rights in NC. For example, if you vote with a paper ballot and mark it wrong, you can return it to the election official and receive a new ballot. (Print out this Voting Rights page and take it with you when you vote.)
If you get a phone call, receive a mailing, or hear announcements with misinformation that seems aimed at confusing voters, please call the toll-free NC Election Protection hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE (888-687-8683). Report as much detail as possible about the message, when and how it was delivered, etc. You can also call this NC Hotline if you have a problem when you vote.
Spread the word
Anything that intimidates, discourages or confuses potential voters is bad for democracy. Help people feel good about voting. Please include these phone numbers in your materials for people to call if they have a problem when they vote: Election Protection Hotlines 888-OUR-VOTE and 866-OUR-VOTE or the State Board of Elections toll-free number 866-522-4723.
One backup: the Provisional Ballot
If the election officials cannot find your name on the list of registered voters when you go to vote or if you encounter any other problem, you have the right to receive what is called a “Provisional Ballot.” You will have to fill out a form in addition to your ballot; the form helps the officials research your registration history, and it creates a record that voting-rights groups can review later to make sure you were treated fairly. If elections officials verify your eligibility to vote, your ballot will count like a regular ballot. You will be given a phone number or website to learn if your Provisional Ballot was approved or rejected, and why.
If you had a problem and were not offered a Provisional Ballot, or requested one and were denied your right to receive one, please call the Hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE.