Terms For Election Day Conduct 2012
1. The Cardinal Rule: Observe and Document, Don't Influence
Footage will be used to:
- expose problems with the election process,
- help to advocate for changes to that process, and
- assist individuals in litigation.
2. Video the Vote is Non-Partisan
- Don't engage voters in political conversations.
- Don't wear any partisan or campaign paraphernalia.
- Park far away or remove political bumper stickers from your car
3. Remain Legal distance from polling place
- In states with laws against loitering in front of a polling place there will be a marker for the boundary. Remain outside of this boundary.
- Don’t enter a polling place with a camera or microphone, unless you've been authorized to do so by both an election official and an Election Protection volunteer.
- Do not attempt to film inside a polling booth
4. Use the Hotline! 1.866.OUR.VOTE
- You’re not alone!
- Call 1.866.OUR.VOTE to speak with an Election Protection volunteer.
- Report instances that have not yet been reported to the hotline.
- En Español: (888) VE-Y-VOTA
Get Permission before You Film
- Obtain on-camera verbal release, saying, "My name is _____, and I consent for Video the Vote to use my image or likeness for their election protection documentation project."
- Voters may assume that you are trying to suppress the vote. In plain language say, "I’m here to protect people's right to vote."
6. Take No for an Answer
- If a voter is reluctant, don’t film her/him.
7. Assess First, Film Second
- First approach a voter without your camera recording.
- Establish a connection and level of trust first, then film.
8. Stay on Your Subject
- Don’t inadvertently capture the faces of other voters.
- Try not to impact other voters in any way.
9. See Police? Call the Hotline
- Report police presence at a polling location to 1-866-OUR-VOTE
10. Never Argue with a Poll Worker (even if you are doing something within your rights)
- If you have a problem, politely step back, then call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
11. If Asked to Surrender Your Camera and Tape, Don’t
- You have the right to document as a citizen journalist. Do not hand over your camera or tapes.
- Report the incident to the hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
12. It's OK to Cancel an Interview
- An Election Protection volunteer may ask you to cancel an interview because the interview subject is going to be a plaintiff in litigation. In some cases, a taped interview can make it more difficult for someone who's been disenfranchised to make their case.
13. You May Become a Witness in a Lawsuit
- It's a very remote possibility, but you could be deposed or be called upon to authenticate video you shot.
14. No Problems? No Problem!
- Don’t look for problems.
- A boring Election Day may be a sign of a smooth and fair Election Day.
- Please interview voters about the process and get good b-roll.
- Look for success stories about early voting.
- Be proud. In part, a fair election is happening because you're there to monitor it!