FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a guidance to California law enforcement on voter interference and intimidation laws.
Officials say the guidance comes after several questions had arisen about what is and isn’t allowed at polling places and voting locations
“Election Day is approaching and over seven million Californians have already taken advantage of early voting options,” said Attorney General Becerra.
“Our goal at the Department of Justice is to make sure every person in this state who is eligible has the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote without worry that someone will tamper with their ballot or interfere as they cast their vote. Today’s bulletin alerts law enforcement about the laws that prohibit voter interference and intimidation that they may be called on to address between now and Election Day.”
The guidance says it is illegal to interfere with an election or tamper with voting machines and devices used to tally votes. It is also illegal to use threats of force, violence, coercion, or intimidation to pressure voters into changing their vote or not voting at all, according to officials.
Officials also said voter intimidation tactics can also be less obvious than a physical threat but are nonetheless illegal. Other forms of voter intimidation include:
- Threatening to engage in criminal action against voters;
- Presenting false information about the voting process or voter eligibility requirements, including informing:
- Prospective voters that the ability to speak English is an eligibility requirement to vote;
- Voters that they need to present certain types of photo identification in order to vote; or
- Voters that there could be criminal consequences for voting (e.g., that voting rolls will be used for debt collection purposes, to undertake arrest warrant checks, etc.); and
- Aggressively questioning voters about their citizenship, criminal record, or other qualifications to vote.