As we near election day this year, more so this year than ever before, there is a spotlight on the potential for fraud and our election process’s security. Fair elections are the foundation of our democracy. It is up to all of us to ensure that we understand what is legal and what is not legal for the election process.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation an important role in protecting federal interests and preventing violations of your constitutional rights. They offer some guidance on what is legal and what is not and some things to keep in mind regarding your rights.
There are many reputable places you can find your polling location and registration information, including eac.gov and usa.gov/how-to-vote. However, not all publicly available voting information is accurate, and some are deliberately designed to deceive you into keeping you from voting.
Protect your vote by arming yourself with information. Know when, where, and how you will vote. It is up to you to know this information. Official sources should be used to gather this information, like your local election office.
Seek out election information from trustworthy sources, verify who produced the content, and consider their intent.
Report potential election crimes, such as disinformation about the manner, time, or place of voting to the FBI.
If appropriate, use in-platform tools offered by social media companies to report suspicious posts that appear to be spreading false or inconsistent information about voting and elections.
Research individuals and entities to whom you are making political donations.
Intentionally deceiving qualified voters to prevent them from voting is voter suppression, and it is a federal crime. Bad actors use various methods to spread disinformation about voting, such as social media platforms, texting, or peer-to-peer messaging applications on smartphones. They may provide misleading information about the time, manner, or place of voting. This can include inaccurate election dates or false claims about voting qualifications or methods, such as false information suggesting that one may vote by text, which is not allowed in any jurisdiction.
The FBI recommends that you always consider the source of voting information. Ask yourself, “Can I trust this information?” Look for official notices from election offices and verify the information you found is accurate.
Help defend the right to vote by reporting any suspected instances of voter suppression, especially those received through a private communication channel like texting, to your local FBI field office or at tips.fbi.gov.
Fraud by the Voter
- Giving false information when registering to vote (such as false citizenship claims)
- Voting when ineligible to vote
- Voting more than once or using someone else’s name to vote
Fraud by an Elections/Campaign Official or Other Individual:
- Changing a ballot tally or engaging in other corrupt behavior as an elections official
- Providing a voter with money or something of value in exchange for voting for a specific candidate or party in a federal election
- Threatening a voter with physical or financial harm if they don’t vote or don’t vote a certain way
- Trying to prevent qualified voters from voting by lying about the time, date, or place of an election (voter suppression)
Campaign Finance Crimes
- Excessive campaign contributions above the legal limit
- Conduit contributions or straw donor schemes (reimbursing someone for contributing to a campaign)
- Contributions from prohibited sources
- Coordination between Super PACs and independent-expenditure organizations and a candidate’s campaign
Use of campaign funds for personal or unauthorized use