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.
Disruption hurts our ability to use footage for these purposes.

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!