Lansing, MI—With the Nov. 3 election one day away, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights today alerted Michigan residents that voter intimidation and harassment may constitute a violation of their civil rights. Individuals who face discrimination, harassment or intimidation in their effort to cast their ballot on Election Day have the right to file a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
“You have the right to safely and securely exercise your right to vote,” said James E. White, Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “If someone attempts to intimidate you or interfere with that right, seek help immediately to ensure you’re able to vote. But it is important to know that those actions may also constitute a violation of your civil rights.”
MDCR strongly urges individuals facing voter intimidation or harassment on Election Day to immediately alert a poll worker. If that does not resolve the problem, they should call the election protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE as soon as possible, and contact the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to initiate a formal complaint of discrimination.
“It is important to remember that barriers to voting do not always come in the form of intimidation or threat,” said White. “Individuals with disabilities have the same right to vote as everyone else and must be offered accessible options to ensure they’re able to cast their ballot.”
Voters with disabilities have the right to:
- Vote privately and independently.
- Have an accessible polling place, voting machines and/or ballots.
- Bring someone with them to the polls to help them vote.
- Seek assistance from poll workers who have been trained to use accessible voting options.
- Ask election officials to tell them about any voting aids, voting assistance and absentee ballot procedures that are available.
If a voter with a disability faces a barrier to voting, they too have the right to file a complaint of discrimination with MDCR.
To speak with a member of the MDCR Enforcement Division or file a complaint of discrimination, call 1-800-482-3604. You can also file a complaint using the online complaint form atmichigan.gov/MDCR or to contact the Department by email at MDCR-INFO@michigan.gov.
The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. It also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law. For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.michigan.gov/mdcr.