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American Muslim Voters

A campaign by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Voter Rights and Safety Guidelines

Federal and many state laws make it illegal to turn away or discriminate against voters because of their race, color, national origin, disability, sex, or religion. This guide provides an overview of useful election-day resources, including information about voting rights, voter safety in 2024, requesting assistance in the voting booth, and requesting disability assistance. The 2024 election cycle holds significant importance for the American Muslim community, primarily due to the escalating threat of Islamophobia and the pressing need for representation and advocacy. Here is why this election cycle stands out as crucial:

There has been a concerning surge in Islamophobic rhetoric and actions across the United States. Hate crimes targeting Muslims have increased. The 2024 election presents an opportunity for the Muslim community to push back against Islamophobia. By actively engaging in the electoral process, Muslims can show their collective voice and influence in shaping the country’s future. This involves voting, taking part in grassroots organizing, running for office, and mobilizing community members to become politically active.

The outcome of the 2024 election will have significant implications for policies affecting the Muslim community, including civil rights, immigration, national security, and foreign affairs. (Please see 2024 Congressional Scorecard). By engaging in the electoral process, the community can work towards shaping policies that uphold justice, equality, and human rights for all.

These resources are meant to be accessible to everyone seeking assistance on election day.

Online Election Day Resources:

Fundamental Voting Rights of a Citizen

  • Right to Vote: As a citizen, you have the constitutional right to cast your vote, provided you meet the eligibility criteria. This means no one can deny you the opportunity to vote if you are a qualified voter.
  • State-Specific Voter Eligibility: It is important to note that each state has the authority to establish its own rules regarding voter eligibility, rights, and responsibilities. This includes determining who can vote, how, and when they can vote. Typically, this information is readily available on the official website of your state’s board of elections. It is crucial for every citizen to familiarize themselves with these rules to ensure they can exercise their voting rights effectively.
  • Federal Protection Against Discrimination: Federal law provides robust protection for voters, explicitly stating that no person can be denied the right to vote based on their race or color. This provision ensures that every citizen, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, has an equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

These fundamental rights form the bedrock of our democratic system, empowering citizens to have a say in the governance of their country. It is essential for every citizen to understand these rights and exercise them responsibly to uphold the principles of democracy.

General Voter Rights in Many States

  • Right to a Secret Ballot: You have the right to keep your voting choices private. It is your decision whether to discuss your vote with others. No one, including friends, family, or employers, has the right to force you to reveal your vote.
  • Right to Accessibility: If you have a disability, you have the right to an accessible polling place. This includes the right to assistance in casting your ballot. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that people with disabilities must have the same opportunities to participate in the voting process as other voters.
  • Right to Vote Free from Coercion: You have the right to vote without being influenced or coerced by anyone. This means that you can make your own decisions about which candidates to support and how to vote on any measures or propositions on the ballot.
  • Right to Bring Children: If you have children in your care, you can bring them into the voting booth. However, it is important to ensure that they do not disrupt the voting process or interfere with normal voting procedures.
  • Right to Bring Materials: You are allowed to bring any written or printed material into the polling place to help you in marking or preparing your ballot. This can include a sample ballot, a voter guide, or any other material that you find helpful.
  • Right to Time Off Work to Vote: In many states, you have the right to take time off work to vote without losing your pay or facing any penalties. The specifics of this law vary by state, so it is important to check the laws in your state.
  • Right to Language Assistance: Federal law provides minority language voting rights. Certain jurisdictions must provide election materials in languages other than English, and voters have the right to bring an interpreter (to the polls.

Remember, voting is a fundamental right and a cornerstone of our democracy. It is important to know and understand your rights to ensure your voice is heard.

Safety Guidelines for Voters During Polls

  • Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with the voting laws in your state. You have the right to vote without being harassed or intimidated.
  • Plan Ahead: Research your polling location and its hours. Try to vote at a time when it is less crowded to minimize potential conflicts.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated about the current political climate, including the Israel-Gaza conflict. Understanding the situation can help you navigate conversations and avoid conflicts.
  • Avoid Confrontation: If political discussions arise, remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Avoid engaging in heated debates.
  • Be Respectful: Respect others’ political beliefs, even if they differ from yours. Promote a peaceful voting environment by treating everyone with kindness and understanding.
  • Report Incidents: If you experience or witness harassment or intimidation at the polls, report it to the election officials immediately. You can also report such incidents to local law enforcement agencies.
  • Stay Safe: Follow all safety guidelines or any other health advisories on the voting day.
  • Remember the Importance of Voting: Remember that every vote counts despite the potential challenges. Voting is a powerful way for you to express your views and impact the future of your community, state, and country.

Remember, your safety and well-being are paramount. Do not let fear or intimidation prevent you from exercising your right to vote.

If you believe your voting rights have been violated, please contact the Council on American-Islamic Relations at (202)-488-8787 and contact your state’s election office. To directly call the number for your local CAIR chapter, go here.

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