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Giffords Law Center Releases Analysis on Armed Voter Intimidation

“Preventing Armed Voter Intimidation: A State-by-State Analysis” is a 50-state guide for election officials, workers, and local leaders with summaries, citations, and explanations of state laws to prepare for possible instances of voter intimidation. 

Washington, DC — As gun rights extremists continue to show up at protests and other political events, Giffords Law Center released a comprehensive guide for election officials and workers to be ready to protect the right to vote from any potential acts of firearm intimidation. The state-by-state resource details   rights not to be harassed with firearms and encourages poll workers and election officials to identify and report unlawful behavior. 

Those protections include laws that govern the open carry of firearms at polling places, election offices where voters are tallied, and other spaces that could provide a setting for voter intimidation. Because of the differences in the laws that govern each state, the report features all fifty states to provide an explanation tailored to communities across the country.

As Allison Anderman, Giffords Law Center Senior Counsel, wrote in the introduction: “Increasingly, gun rights extremists have turned to brandishing and displaying firearms as a key tactic at protests. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, the presence of heavily armed protesters and counter-protesters has contributed to numerous violent incidents, including several fatal shootings. As Election Day approaches, the potential for openly carried firearms at polling places, election offices where votes are tallied, or other spaces crucial to voters casting their ballots creates a serious risk of disenfranchising Americans, particularly Black and Brown voters.”

Just last weekend, Trump supporters disrupted early voting in Fairfax, Virginia, intimidating voters and polling staff members. This comes as the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign have already begun to recruit thousands of volunteers to monitor polling places for evidence of voter fraud. While claims of widespread voter fraud have been consistently disproven, the threat of individuals bringing guns to the polls under the guise of preventing voter fraud is very real. Already, the presence of heavily armed protesters and counterprotesters has led to violence and fatal shootings in multiple incidents.

The guide notes the importance of officials of stopping any attempts to disenfranchise voters, especially communities that are frequently targeted for racially discriminatory voter suppression. Recent instances of Trump supporters pointing firearms at peaceful protesters for racial justice are part of a long history of political violence used to silence or disenfranchise Black and Brown voters. 

Read the full resource: Preventing Armed Voter Intimidation: A State-by-State Analysis.


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