Voter Protection Unit issues Know your Voting Rights Information

Washington, DC | October 16, 2007 | | Since the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) established the Voter Protection Unit (VPU), ADC has received numerous inquires expressing concern over possible complications at the polls on Election Day. In an effort to allay these fears, and restore faith in the election process, the ADC-VPU has developed the following information for voters.
Should you have any questions pertaining to Election Day laws and procedures, please send an e-mail to Please include your name and voting jurisdiction in the e-mail so ADC can address the question or concern accordingly.
Debunking Myths at the Polls
MYTH: Poll workers can ask personal questions to determine my identity.
TRUTH: Poll workers are allowed to ask questions to determine the identity of a voter such as your address. Some states require voters to present a valid drivers license. However, poll workers are not permitted to ask questions pertaining to personal or political matters. Poll workers cannot intimidate voters and cannot ask for proof of citizenship if you are already registered. If a poll worker is intimidating you, please take down the poll workers name, and any names of witnesses. Upon leaving the polling place, please e-mail the ADC-VPU to or call at 202-244-2990. You should also contact the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Voting Section or call toll-free at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767. To find out your state‘s voter identification requirements, please call your Secretary of State’s office, or visit the National Conference of State Legislatures’ “Requirements for Voter Identification.”
MYTH: You cannot have assistance in the voter booth, including a translator.
TRUTH: Under Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act , an individual is allowed to have assistance in the voting booth if necessary. Assistance can include the use of a translator and those who cannot enter the voting booth or use the voting system due to a disability. You can choose anyone to assist, except for your employer, an agent of your employer, an officer or agent of your union or the Judge of Elections. You may be asked to complete and sign a form provided by the Election Officials at the polling place the first time you use an assistant. After the first time, your registration record will include notation of your request for assistance for subsequent elections.
MYTH: You cannot be denied access to vote and forced to leave the voting polls without casting a ballot.
TRUTH: If a poll worker challenges your eligibility to vote you can request a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are researched after the election to determine the voter’s eligibility. If eligibility is confirmed, the provisional ballot is opened and counted and included along with all other official election results.
MYTH: You cannot vote if your home is in foreclosure.
TRUTH: If your home is in foreclosure, you do not lose your right to vote, nor can you be challenged on your right to vote. Some states, such as Michigan, allow those who have moved from their homes 60 Days to vote in the same precinct. Please call your Secretary of State’s office to find out if your State allows voters to vote if their home is in foreclosure.
MYTH: You cannot wear campaign buttons, stickers, or T-Shirts supporting a particular candidate or issue to the polls while voting.
TRUTH: Most states allow a voter to wear campaign attire into the polling place while he or she is there to vote (the voter may not linger in the polling place after voting); however, some jurisdictions such as Virginia have decided that such items are not allowed. It is best to contact your Secretary of State’s office before you head to the polls. All jurisdictions prohibit campaign supporters from standing within 100 feet of the entrance of a polling station.
MYTH: As an ex-felon you cannot vote.
TRUTH: Not all states prohibit ex-felons from voting. Some states even afford those on probation the opportunity to vote. To find out if your state allows ex-felons to vote, and the qualifications that must be met to cast a ballot, please contact your Secretary of State’s office for clarification.
If you run into trouble at the polls on November 4th, please contact the ADC-VPU by e-mail to or call 202-244-2990. You should also contact the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Voting Section or call toll-free at (800) 253-3931 or (202) 307-2767
For questions such as where you vote and poll hours please visit the League of Women Voters Education Fund or contact your Secretary of State’s office.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 makes it illegal for any state or local government to discriminate against racial or ethnic minority groups by denying them the right to vote. It also protects against discrimination of people in language minority groups. The Voting Rights Act was extended in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006.
Contact: ADC Voter Protection Unit
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee |
1732 Wisconsin Ave., NW | Washington, DC | 20007
Tel: 202-244-2990 | Fax: 202-244-7968 | E-mail:

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