RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With Election Day upon us, voter intimidation at the polls has been a top concern given the highly contentious atmosphere surrounding the presidential race.
To put voters at ease, there are provisions in place.
“Virginia has a 40-foot boundary outside of polling places, so within that 40-foot boundary, you can’t do any electioneering,” Virginia Board of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes explained.
Outside of that boundary, however, electioneers are free to hand you pamphlets and even wear clothing displaying their support or dislike of candidates.
“There’s no longer any restrictions on people wearing t-shirts or anything like that,” Cortes said. “The authorized representatives that are inside the polling place aren’t allowed to wear any electioneering materials, but for voters, they don’t have any restriction on that.”
What is not allowed is voter intimidation and trying to impede anyone from casting their vote.
“Getting in somebody’s face and being very aggressive and then questioning their eligibility to vote pretty aggressively, particularly if that’s directed at only people of color, those are the things that we look for,” Claire Gastanaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia, said.
Should you experience any such issues, Cortes says to notify the election officers inside. You can also contact the ACLU or the Commonwealth’s Attorney directly.
Officials say the underlying message is to simply not let anyone stop you from voting.
“Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and anybody that’s in line by 7 p.m. will still be allowed to vote,” Cortes said. “So, we’re just encouraging everybody to go out and exercise their right to vote.”
For more polling site information, click here.