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Attorney General of Virginia


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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING TAKES ADDITIONAL STEPS TO PROTECT VOTERS FROM INTIMIDATION AND HARASSMENT AT THE POLLS

~ Herring has sent a letter to key law enforcement and elections stakeholder organizations asking for their commitment to ensuring a safe, fair and free election and outlining protections in state and federal law to prevent voter intimidation and harassment ~

RICHMOND As part of his ongoing efforts to protect Virginia voters from illegal harassment or intimidation at the polls, Attorney General Mark R. Herring today wrote to key law enforcement and elections stakeholder organizations asking for their commitment to ensuring a safe, fair, free and accurate election, and outlining protections in state and federal law to prevent voter intimidation and harassment.

 

Attorney General Herring has written to the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia Association of Commonwealths Attorneys, the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia, and the Virginia Electoral Board Association to highlight the guidance outlined in an advisory opinion he issued last month about the protections in both state and federal law that protect Virginians from illegal voter harassment and intimidation at the polls.

 

“This election season has turned out to be unlike any other we have experienced, and we have had to respond to various challenges, many of which have stemmed from President Trump’s dangerous rhetoric,” said Attorney General Herring. “It’s important for elections officials and law enforcement officers to have a good understanding of the protections in place to prevent illegal voter intimidation and harassment in case there are any occurrences leading up to or on Election Day.

 

“Voter harassment and intimidation go against the very principles of the fair and free elections that are the bedrock of our democracy. I want all Virginia voters to know that they will be safe, whether they choose to vote in person early or on Election Day, and, no matter how they vote, their vote will count.”

 

In his letter, Attorney General Herring highlights that, “Virginians need to know that they can vote safely and securely if they choose to vote in person, and no matter how they vote, whether in person or by mail, their vote will count. Voting is the bedrock of our democracy and no one should ever feel intimidated or afraid when casting their ballot.”

 

Attorney General Herring also notes in his letter, “As you play a critical role in protecting the elections process in the Commonwealth, I thought it important to ensure that you know the protections that are in place and the options available to you should we see any behavior over the next few weeks that could constitute voter intimidation or harassment.”

 

Additionally, he points out that, “the Virginia Department of Elections also has resources for voters who believe they may have experienced or witnessed voter intimidation. Voters can report complaints of voter intimidation on the Department’s website (www.elections.virginia.gov) or by phone at (800) 552-9745.”

 

Finally, Attorney General Herring concludes the letter by saying, “This election season has presented us with numerous challenges thus far, but I want to assure you my team and I are preparing to help address issues and challenges that may arise over the next few weeks. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions or if we can help you in any way during this time.”

 

Attorney General Herring initially issued an advisory opinion on September 24, 2020 outlining protections in both state and federal law against voter intimidation and harassment in response to “reports of activity near polling places that led some voters to fear for their safety while waiting to cast their vote, or led them to believe that they would be harmed for supporting a particular candidate.”

 

After President Trump urged his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully” at the first presidential debate, Attorney General Herring reiterated that there are protections in place to prevent voter intimidation and harassment and outlined the actual duties of poll watchers in Virginia.

 

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