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Top 5 Polling Place Laws

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 27, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The 2018 mid-term elections are right around the corner, and voting rights advocates are putting polling places front and center. In California, a coalition of groups including the ACLU have filed a lawsuit claiming the Secretary of State improperly limited the scope of language assistance at state polling places, meaning some 80,000 Californians could be deprived of translation services necessary to voting.

California law requires translation services at polling places where a certain percentage of the surrounding residents have limited English proficiency. Here are five other laws regarding polling places that will have you ready to exercise your voting rights come November:

1. Rules Around Polling Places

While state election laws can vary, there are general rules when it comes to polling places and the voting process. Most polling places will require some form of identification, and all must provide access for persons with disabilities.

2. What Should I Bring to the Ballot Box? An Update on State Voter ID Laws

Speaking of ID, voter ID laws can vary from state to state, and voter ID laws have been winding their way through state and federal courts for years. Find out whether your state has a strict ID requirement, a softer requirement, or no requirement at all.

3. Social Media and Voting: Update on 'Ballot Selfie' Laws

It's the Age of the Selfie. But can you take one with your ballot? Some states explicitly prohibit ballot selfies, some states allow them, and quite a few states have yet to take a side on the selfie issue. Some of the selfie bans are part of blanket moratoriums on any photos at polling places, but are they improper restrictions on free speech?

4. Can Citizens Enforce Voter Laws?

With all these rules around voting, are citizens allowed to report violations and enforce these laws themselves? Despite calls for citizen "election observers" during the last presidential election, there are limits on the kind of citizen action and speech at polling places.

5. How to Get an Absentee Ballot

Want to avoid all this hassle and move your polling place to your living room? Find out how to request and submit an absentee ballot.

For more polling place and voting law questions, contact an experienced election lawyer in your area.

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