WV Groups Warn Election Scare Tactics, Threats Weaken Voter Power

Nadia Ramlagan

The risk of voter intimidation and political violence has increased since 2020, according to research from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Two in five U.S. voters say they are worried about threats of violence or voter intimidation at polling stations during the midterm election, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Mountain State officials say they’re expecting Election Day to run smoothly, but Julie Archer – the coordinator of West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections – said rural states face challenges when it comes to documenting cases of threats or harassment.

“Maybe having polling places out where there’s not easily available cell or internet,” said Archer. “We just want folks to be aware that these things can happen, and that if they do happen, it’s illegal.”

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More than 1,700 voting precincts will be staffed and open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Voters in line by 7:30 p.m. will be permitted to vote, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Archer explained that the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia has created a statewide hotline for voters, along with a “Know Your Rights” voter guide available at ‘

“In West Virginia,” said Archer, “voters who encounter problems at the polls or who might have questions about the voting process, they can also call West Virginia’s election protection hotline, and that number is 304-355-5012.”

Melanie Campbell – president and CEO of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation – said groups with a history of voter suppression may feel more vulnerable this year, compared with previous midterms.

“One of the things that is very different about what we’re hearing on the ground are the concerns for safety,” said Campbell, “safety for voters, safety for organizations.”

According to a recent Gallup poll, most voters said they planned to vote before Election Day this year during early voting periods, compared with the 2010 midterm election.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.