Legislation by 2008 Presidential Candidates: prohibiting voter intimidation in federal elections
Source: Voter Intimidation Prevention Act (H.R.1281 & S.453)
Makes it unlawful for anyone before or during a federal election to knowingly communicate false election-related information about that election, with the intent to prevent another person from exercising the right to vote. Increases from one year to five years' imprisonment the criminal penalty for intimidation of voters.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Sen. OBAMA: This bill seeks to address the all-too-common efforts to deceive voters in order to keep them away from the polls. It's hard to imagine that we even need a bill like this. But, unfortunately, there are people who will stop at nothing to try to deceive voters and keep them away from the polls. What's worse, these practices often target and exploit vulnerable populations, such as minorities, the disabled, or the poor. We saw countless examples in this past election.
Some of us remember the thousands of Latino voters in Orange County, California, who received letters warning them in
Spanish that, "if you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that can result in incarceration."
Or the voters in Virginia who received calls from a so-called "Virginia Elections Commission" informing them--falsely--that they were ineligible to vote.
Or the voters who were told that they couldn't vote if they had family members who had been convicted of a crime.
Of course, these so-called warnings have no basis in fact, and are made with only one goal in mind--to keep Americans away from the polls. We see these problems election after election, and my hope is that this bill will finally stop these practices. This bill makes voter intimidation & deception punishable by law, and it contains strong penalties. The bill also seeks to address the real harm of these crimes--people who are prevented from voting by misinformation--by establishing a process for reaching out to these misinformed voters with accurate information so they can cast their votes in time.
Topic: Government Reform
Headline: Prohibit voter intimidation in federal elections