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Voting Laws

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Voting Laws

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Voting Laws

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Election and voting laws in America began as far back as Article 1 of the Constitution of America. According to that Article, each state is responsible for overseeing federal elections. Since then, numerous voting rights and federal laws regarding voting have been passed, progressively attempting to include groups that might have at first been prohibited from voting. While the United States is well known for its belief in democracy and voting rights, issues such as voter fraud, suppression, and other election crimes continue to occur.

Approximately two-thirds of the United States require voters to show some form of identification before they are allowed to cast their votes. If you suspect voter fraud or voter suppression, report it to your state or territorial election office. Additionally, voter fraud can be reported to a local FBI office, U.S. attorney’s office, or the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division. Voter suppression can be similarly reported, and also submitted via the Election Complaint Report form on the DOJ website.

What are the Statistics on Voting in the United States?

Voting tends to ebb and flow from year to year as far as how many people choose to exercise their right to vote, and of those people, what specific demographics they have in common. According to the United States Census Bureau, voter turnout increased significantly from 2014 to 2018.

Let’s go over some other voter statistics from 2014 to 2018:

  • Voter turnout for 18 to 29-year-olds increased by 79% percent. This represented the largest percentage increase for any age group.
  • Voter turnout increased by 11% to 12% for men and women respectively.
  • Hispanic voter turnout increased by 50%.
  • Groups with higher levels of education experienced a higher voter turnout while those with less than a high school education experienced the smallest increase in voter turnout.

There Are Three Categories of Federal Election Crimes

The voting process is designed to offer U.S. citizens a tangible way to hold their government accountable and ensure the American system of representative government continues to work as it should. When someone disrupts the integrity of the election process, especially through voter fraud or suppression, the issue becomes a federal crime. The three categories of federal election crimes include:

  • Campaign finance. These crimes occur when a candidate running for office accepts funds that violate the amount or donors type permitted by law.
  • Civil rights violations. Voter suppression falls in this category, and can include voter intimidation, coercion, threats, or any other tactics designed to suppress a citizen’s ability to cast their own vote. This includes trying to prevent qualified voters from reaching the polls in a federal election.
  • Voter/ballot fraud. This occurs when somebody illegally casts a vote in the name of a deceased person or someone who has moved to another area of the country. This includes giving false information when registering to vote and accepting money or something of value in exchange for voting or registering to vote.Voting more than once in a federal election is another kind of voter fraud.

What to Do if You Witness Voter Fraud or Experience Voter Suppression

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is designed to protect every American from racial discrimination in voting. However, that does not mean that discrimination does not still occur in the voting process. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 is designed to offer everyone an equal opportunity to register to vote, while the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act requires states to make sure that members of the armed forces are still able to register for and vote in federal elections. Finally, the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act is intended to require equal accessibility for polling locations across the country regardless of physical capability.

If you or a loved one witnessed voter fraud, you can report it to the FBI and a number of other agencies.

If you or a loved one suffered from voter suppression, submit a report via the Election Complaint Report form on the DOJ website here and seek legal counsel from a civil rights attorney to learn more about your rights and options for justice.

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