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Georgia Voter Empowerment Task Force
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The Law in Georgia

on Poll Watchers, Challengers, and Intimidation of Voters and Election Workers

Intimidating or harassing voters, poll workers, and election officials is against the law in Georgia. Voters should feel safe when voting, and election officials and poll workers should feel safe when doing their jobs.

Federal and state law protects voters, poll workers, and election officials from intimidation and aggressive behavior in multiple ways:

Voter intimidation is illegal in Georgia.

The law in Georgia is crystal clear: intimidating voters is a crime Ga. Code §§21-2-566(3)-(4) and 21-2-567; 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 594; 52 U.S.C. § 10101(b). Examples of illegal voter intimidation could include:

Any actions that have the effect of intimidating voters are also illegal, regardless of intent. 52 U.S.C. § 10307(b).

It is illegal to intimidate poll workers and election officials in Georgia.

Georgia law provides strong protections for poll workers and election officials. It is a felony under Georgia law to threaten a poll worker or election official, use violence against a poll worker or election official, or attempt to prevent a poll worker or election official from doing their job in any way. Ga. Code § 21-2-566(1)-(2).

Intimidation of poll workers and election officials is illegal at all stages of the election process, including during mail ballot processing and vote counting.

Protections for election officials and poll workers continue after votes are cast. Georgia’s protections against intimidation of election officials and poll workers extend to the vote counting process and all aspects of election administration. Intimidating election officials or poll workers during mail ballot verification or ballot counting processes is a felony. Ga. Code § 21-2-566(1)-(2).

There are strict legal limits on who can be a poll watcher in Georgia.

Not just anyone can show up to a polling place and be a poll watcher. Georgia law subjects poll workers to strict limits, and election officials are empowered by law to remove unauthorized or unruly poll watchers

There are strict legal limits on what poll watchers can do at polling places in Georgia.

Authorized poll watchers may not do whatever they want at polling places. In addition to the prohibitions on intimidation, Georgia law imposes strict rules on poll watcher behavior inside polling places:

There are strict legal limits on what poll watchers can do during the ballot tabulation process in Georgia.

The rules and regulations that apply to poll watchers at polling places also apply during the mail ballot tabulation process and the vote counting process.

Georgia law strictly limits the conduct of anyone seeking to challenge a voter’s right to vote.

Challengers must abide by strict regulations at all stages of the election process in Georgia. Any challenge that is intended to intimidate or results in intimidation is a felony under Georgia law. Ga. Code § 21-2-567.

Election officials are empowered to remove any individual who is disruptive or is not adhering to any of these rules.

Ga. Code § 21-2-90 puts poll officers in charge of managing polling places, and § 21-2-493 puts superintendents in charge of the vote counting process. § 21-2-50 empowers the Secretary of State to assist election officials in these duties. Ga. Code § 21-2-408(d) authorizes Georgia election officials to remove any poll watcher who is disruptive or is not adhering to any of these rules.

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