augusta free press news

AG highlights efforts to protect voters from intimidation in letter to law enforcement

vote 2020 election
(© 3desc –

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.

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 that 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,” Herring said. “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 the letter, 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.”

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.”

The Virginia Department of Elections 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 or by phone at (800) 552-9745.